The advanced internet has facilitated easy sharing of information and expression of views. Nowadays, you can easily express yourself in a myriad of ways. There is a darker aspect of this expression of views, a few individuals use the internet as a tool for venting out their anger or hurt or express something derogatory just out of spite. In doing so, they sometimes intentionally or unintentionally damage someone’s reputation or character.
Defamation of character
The question that everyone should be aware of is, what is defamation of character? The answer to this is important to you whether you are a simple internet user or the wronged party. Defamation is the term that covers and includes any statement that hurts or damages someone’s reputation. It can be of two types
- Libel and
Libel and Slander
Both libel and slander are types of defamation. The slander is the verbal and gestural type of defamation. It is basically when a person says something that is defamatory to an individual and this statement is heard by a third party causing some damage to the reputation of an individual.
The libel is the published written statement regarding someone that has a tendency to damage his reputation or character. It also includes statements published in radio, audio or video, these are considered libel since these are published in a transfixed form.
The internet is steadily becoming a major source of libel and defamation. The Internet provides everyone various platforms like Twitter, Facebook or blogs to express themselves. The users can wittingly and sometimes unwittingly commit defamation. Defamation of character is a major legal offense that can result in severe repercussions for the wrongdoers.
Defamation of character – Legal aspect
The basic grounds for defamation suits are as follows
- The speaker knew or should have known that the statement is false.
- The statement was published and read or heard by a third party other than the speaker and the injured party.
- The statement has caused real damage to its subject.
- The statement targets the injured party.
The legal process
The legal process for both libel and slander defamation cases have following key points
- The burden of proof lies with the injured party or the plaintiff.
- The plaintiff needs to prove that the statement was false, which is difficult especially when the evidence has disappeared. But in cases that come under ‘libel per se’ it’s easier to prove the falsity of the statement.
- The plaintiff needs to prove the publication of the statement and that it was published by the defendant. This is tough in case of slander cases, so witnesses need to be gathered prior to the proceeding.
- The plaintiff also needs to prove that he has suffered damages from the statement, it could be either personal or professional damage.
You need a specialist defamation attorney to represent you in order to handle all nuances of law in defamation cases. It is especially vital when dealing with Anonymous online defamation. An attorney has the resources to identify the responsible party and to collect the evidences/ witnesses. He has the knowledge that can enable you to vindicate your damaged reputation.