Updated on April 5th, 2019
Defamation refers to the action of damaging one’s reputation through written or oral means. So if you were accused of saying or writing something about a person which harms his reputation, you might have been filed a defamation charge. If you have, then how can you defend yourself from it?
It can be tricky, but you’re able to defend yourself against such cases, especially if it wasn’t your intention to destroy one’s reputation. Read on as I show you what you need to know about such charges, as well as the five expert advice to protect yourself from defamation.
The Basics Of Defamation
Before anything else, what is defamation in the first place? Like mentioned, it’s the act of harming one’s reputation through written or spoken a word to another person or group of people. This works on premises where a person’s name has value and his good name was destroyed, with the one who destroyed it made to pay.
Libel and slander are such acts of defamation. Libel is through writing, while slander is through oral defamation.
Now that you’re familiar with what defamation is, what can you do to protect yourself if such cases were made against you? Here are five things to take note of:
1. If The Statement Is True
If the statement written or said was true, then no defamation was made. For criminal cases, the truth of someone’s past is only trying if the said person was convicted of the crime mentioned. However, if the person was only accused of the crime, this doesn’t make it true. So for example, you can’t defame a convicted rapist when you tell people that fact, as its part of a public record.
For civil or private cases, the truth is shown through written evidence. For instance, if you’re proving that someone plagiarized a written piece, you need to show the written evidence of plagiarism to prove that your statement is true.
2. There Was Harm
Defamation cases are only valid if there was any harm in one’s good name. For example, if you say someone was “stupid” without anyone believing it, there’s no harm and the case is invalid. But, if you were to tell bank loaners that their loanee has “no means to pay,” causing the bank to decline the loan, then that defamation case is valid.
Take note that there is defamation lawsuits settled with just a $1 penalty, as the person’s good name was harmed, though not as much.
3. There Should Be Communication
For a defamation case to take place and be valid, the said statement or written piece should have been communicated. Meaning, there needs to be both a sender and receiver of the said message the person is making a case about.
Let’s say you wrote a written piece about a certain person that puts him in a bad light, then you hid it in your drawer. If you didn’t send or publish the piece, then there’s no defamation. If someone else found and published the piece, you did not communicate it.
4. Consent Was Given
If ever someone filed a defamation case against you but you have proof that the said person gave consent, then no defamation exists. That’s why it’s best that you have oral or written proof that the person filing a case against you gave consent to use his/her name for your published written or spoken pieces. As much as possible, it should be written consent, as its difficult proving so if it was done orally with no recording.
5. It Was An Opinion and Not A Factual Statement
If the statement of defamation can be proven that it was simply stated as an opinion than a fact, then it might not be determined as defamatory. Furthermore, the opinion used as defenses depends on its context used.
Besides this, you can defend yourself against defamation through immunity or privilege. These are often a defense used by legislators or protection from the press from any defamation charges against them.
Wrapping It Up
Through learning all about defamation and the ways you can protect yourself from it, you won’t have to worry about being sued or having charges taken against you. It’s better to ensure that you know your rights to prevent cases such as these from escalating. And with companies like Boss Lawyers who can advise you, you’re able to protect and defend yourself from the complainant.
I hope that this article on the five expert advice to protect yourself from defamation helped you out. So begin acquainting yourself with such laws and cases to ensure that you are not sued for defamation.
If you have any questions or want to share your tips and experiences on protecting yourself against defamation, then comment below. Your thoughts are much appreciated!