Definition of defamation
- IPA: /ˌdɛfəˈmeɪʃən/, SAMPA: /%dEf@"meIS@n/
- Rhymes: -eɪʃǝn
- Hyphenation: def‧am‧ation
defamation (plural defamations)
- Act of injuring another's reputation by any slanderous communication, written or oral; the wrong of maliciously injuring the good name of another; slander; detraction; calumny; aspersion.
In law, defamation�also called calumny, vilification, slander (for spoken words), and libel (for written 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, but not always, 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 and defamatory spoken statement or report, while libel refers to any other form of communication such as written words or images. Most jurisdictions allow legal actions, civil and/or criminal, to deter various kinds of defamation and retaliate against groundless criticism. Related to defamation is public disclosure of private facts, which arises where one person reveals information that is not of public concern, and the release of which would offend a reasonable person. "Unlike [with] libel, truth is not a defense for invasion of privacy."
False light laws are "intended primarily to protect the plaintiff's mental or emotional well-being." If a publication of information is false, then a tort of defamation might have occurred. If that communication is not technically false but is still misleading, then a tort of false light might have occurred.
In most civil law jurisdictions, defamation is dealt with as a crime rather than a tort.
- E.g., in the case the offense of defamatory libel under the common law of England and Wales, where prior to the enactment of section 6 of the Libel Act 1843 (defense of justification for the public benefit), the truth of the defamatory statement was irrelevant, and it continues to be sufficient that it is published to the defamed person alone.
- Center for Visual Computing Invasion of Privacy
- False light by Professor Edward C. Martin - Cumberland School of Law, Samford University
- The Law Reform Commission of Ireland - Consultation Paper on the Civil Law of Defamation (see item 360 in bold)
- Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.