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Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on Defamation


Defamation—also called calumny, vilification, slander (for transitory statements), and libel (for written, broadcast, or otherwise published words)—is the communication of a statement that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business, product, group, government, or nation a negative image. It is usually a requirement that this claim be false and that the publication is communicated to someone other than the person defamed (the claimant).

In common law jurisdictions, slander refers to a malicious, false,

False light laws are "intended primarily to protect the plaintiff's mental or emotional well-being."

In most civil law jurisdictions, defamation is dealt with as a crime rather than a tort.

A person who destroys another's reputation may be referred to as a famacide, defamer, or slanderer. The Latin phrase famosus libellus means a libelous writing.

In the later Roman jurisprudence, from which many of laws descend, verbal defamations are dealt within the edict under two heads. The first comprehended defamatory and injurious statements made in a public manner (convicium adversus bonos mores). The Praetorian Edict, codified circa 130 A.D., declared that an action could be brought up for shouting at someone contrary to good morals: "qui, advesus bonos mores convicium cui fecisse cuiusve opera factum esse dicitur, quo adversus bonos mores convicium Weret, in eum iudicium dabo." Horace alludes to this provision in a dialogue with the lawyer Trebatius, by punning on mala carmina at lines 82-84:

si mala condiderit in quem quis carmina jus est judiciumque. esto, siquis mala; sed bona siquis judice condiderit laudatus Caesare?

Horace's pun turns on the two possible meanings of mala, "evil and unlawful," or "of poor quality".

Roman law aimed at giving sufficient scope for the discussion of a man's character, while it protected him from needless insult and pain. The remedy for verbal defamation was long confined to a civil action for a monetary penalty, which was estimated according to the significance of the case, and which, although vindictive in its character, doubtless included practically the element of compensation. But a new remedy was introduced with the extension of the criminal law, under which many kinds of defamation were punished with great severity. At the same time increased importance attached to the publication of defamatory books and writings, the libri or libelli famosi, from which we derive our modern use of the word libel; and under the later emperors the latter term came to be specially applied to anonymous accusations or pasquils, the dissemination of which was regarded as particularly dangerous, and visited with very severe punishment, whether the matter contained in them were true or false.

The common law origins of defamation lie in the torts of slander (harmful statement in a transitory form, especially speech) and libel (harmful statement in a fixed medium, especially writing but also a picture, sign, or electronic broadcast), each of which gives a common law right of action.

"Defamation" is the general term used internationally, and is used in this article where it is not necessary to distinguish between "slander" and "libel". Libel and slander both require publication.

Many nations have criminal penalties for defamation in some situations, and different conditions for determining whether an offense has occurred. ARTICLE 19, a free expression advocacy group, has published global maps

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