Defamation - Libel and Slander Archives

Defamation - A false statement vs. an opinion

It can be difficult to determine if a negative statement about another person would be considered defamatory and subject to legal action. Generally, a defamatory statement is presented (in writing or speech to a third party) as a false statement of fact. It can be a negligent or intentional statement, and causes harm to the person mentioned in the communication.

Defamation, public figures, and actual malice

Defamation is a tort (a civil wrong that injures another person, who may seek compensation via a civil lawsuit) involving words that harm another's reputation. The law in this area seeks to balance free speech with the protection against injury caused by lies. And, for public officials, there is an additional element called "actual malice" that guides the court's decisions about defamation lawsuits.

What is Defamation?

Defamation is a general word that refers to the harm of a person's reputation caused by the spoken or written words of another. It is more commonly known as either libel (written) or slander (spoken). Defamation is a civil rather than a criminal act.