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Libel

Reviewed by Annapoorna | Updated on Sep 30, 2020

Catalogue

What is Meant by Libel?

Libel concerns the act of issuing a false statement about an individual that may harm the reputation and/or living of such a targeted person. The statement could be in written form or broadcasted across media platforms, such as television, radio, or the internet. Accordingly, libel is regarded as a civil wrong (tort) and may form the basis of a lawsuit.

Libel depicts the published or broadcasted account of defamation. Defamation happens when one individual's talks or statement damage another person's reputation or affect his or her ability to earn for a living.

The statement in question that is offending an individual must be factual and not just a baseless opinion. An individual cannot defend himself from the possibility of performing a libellous action by simply joining the words 'I think' before a statement.

For instance, a person wrote and published the statement, "I think Mr Radhe Sharma murdered his wife". The person is nevertheless exposed to libel, despite this statement being technically framed as a belief. Actually, this phrase implies that the individual had a concrete basis to believe that the reporting is factual.

For a person found guilty of committing libel, the targeted person of the offending comments need not claim he or she was hurt as the result of the published statement.

It is usually more difficult for famous figures to sue for libel when compared to common individuals. Inadvertent factual errors, such as incorrectly stating a person's age, height, or weight, are out of the scope of libellous activities.

Comparison of Libel, Defamation, and Slander

Both libel and slander are different kinds of defamation. Slander includes defamatory speech usually oral, whereas libel covers defamatory writings. Once, defamatory content displayed on websites was considered to be libellous and not slanderous.

The main difference between defamation and slander is that any medium can be used for making a defamatory statement. This feature can be in a blog comment or said on television or speech. A webmaster may be sued for libelling someone by defaming on a personal blog, if only his best friend, a colleague, or a family member utilises the defamatory words.

How to defend a case of Libel?

If one is accused of defamation, slander, or libel, truth is an absolute defence to the allegation. There is no case if what the accused said is true. If a famed person brings the case and the accused can prove he was only negligent in deciding whether the statement was false, that can be a defence as well.

Defamation is a legal area that protects the reputation of people by providing them recourse if someone accuses them of false statements. This sort of civil case is an effective way to defend the reputation of the accused.

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