Defamation of Character and its Defences Defamation of Character is an unjustified or untrue attack on a person’s reputation. The attack may be intentional or unintentional Must lower the person’s reputation, cause people to avoid him/her, or expose the person to hatred – may result in difficulty finding or keeping jobs, friendships etc. A person’s reputation who has been damaged due to defamation can sue for damages. Section 2b of the CORAF guarantees freedom of speech and expression yey people are not allowed to make false or ungrounded accusations.
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For a statement to be defamatory it must meet the following criteria: • Must be false • Must be heard or read by a third party • Bring the defamed person into ridicule, hatred or contempt
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Slander Slander is defamation through spoken words, sounds physical gestures or facial gestures. Libel Libel – is defamation in a more permanent visual or audible form of slander such as radio or television broadcasts, publications, cartoons, photos tape recordings, internet pages video tapes etc.
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Defences for Defamation
Truth ‐ ? Absolute privilege – MP, people involved in judicial inquiries may make comments without fear of being sued – societies interests are best served by open and free debate. Qualified privilege – people who have their freedom of speech protected by the nature of their work – teachers, employers writing letters of reference. Fair comment – media critics who review plays, movies‐ critics should feel free to comment on matters of public interest.
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