Defamation: The Basics to Assist You in Protecting Your Reputation

Apr 8, 2024 | , , , , , | News

Defamation is a legal term that refers to damaging someone’s reputation through false or misleading statements.

Defamation

What is Defamation?

Our law defines defamation as the unlawful publication of a statement that injures another person’s good name, reputation, or dignity. The statement can be verbal, written, or even published electronically.

 

What Can Be Considered Defamatory?

  • Statements that question a person’s honesty, integrity, or competence in their profession.
  • Statements that cause financial embarrassment, such as alleging someone can’t pay their debts.
  • Insults, false accusations, and offensive language.

 

How Does One Prove Defamation?

To succeed, you will need to prove that:

  • A defamatory statement was published about you.
  • The statement was false and caused you harm.
  • The publisher intended to defame you or was reckless in not knowing the statement was false.

 

What Are the Remedies Available to You?

If you are defamed, you can take legal action to:

  • Apply for an interdict to prevent further publication of the defamatory statement.
  • Institute a claim for compensation for damages suffered due to the defamation.

 

What, if any, are the Defenses Against Defamation?

There are defenses available to those accused of defamation, including:

  • Truth and justification: The statement was truthful and published for the public benefit.
  • Privilege: The statement was made in a privileged situation, such as during a court case.
  • Fair comment: The statement was an honest opinion based on facts.

 

If defamed, our law does offer you remedies to protect your reputation and dignity. If you believe you’ve been defamed, it’s important to consult with an attorney to understand your legal options. Early intervention can help minimize the damage caused by defamation.

The content does not constitute legal advice, are not intended to be a substitute for legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Kindly contact us on info@cklaw.co.za or 021 556 9864 to speak to one of our attorneys.

Author:
Zahnri Griebenow

Zahnri Griebenow

Zahnri joined CK as an associate in April 2023.

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