The law of defamation protects people from the publication of material which could damage their reputation in the eyes of a right thinking person. Where a person’s reputation is injured, money can be paid as compensation. The publisher’s intention in publishing the defamatory material is irrelevant. It is what is actually published that is the issue. Even if you didn’t mean to publish something, or you don’t agree with it, and it contains defamatory material you could be sued.

Publication means that the communication has been made to at least one other person apart from the person that is defamed. That publication need not be published in a large newspaper or broadcasted on a prime time television program, it can be spoken or communicated by other means including radio content, photographs, facial expressions, books, emails, faxes, speeches, Facebook posts, or comments on a blog.

Some of the defences to defamation are:

  • Truth;
  • Justification;
  • Privilege; and
  • Consent.

As web 2.0 changes the way we communicate and interact with each other libellous material can become public so much faster. If you think you have defamed somebody or may have been defamed yourself come and speak to one of our experienced practitioners to discuss the matter.