Defamation is the communication of a false statement that harms the reputation of an individual person, business, product, group, government, religion, or nation as well as other various kinds of defamation that retaliate against groundless criticism.
Types of defamation
Slander and libel are both types of defamation, which refers to statements that damage another person’s reputation. While there are similarities, each focuses on different types of defamation strategy. The primary difference between slander and libel is that libel is the written or otherwise printed public defamation of a person or entity, while slander is the spoken defamation of a person or entity. Slander can also include bodily gestures while libel can include published photographs.
What Is Slander?
Slander involves verbally maligning the reputation or activities of another individual or entity, using information that is known to be false or misleading. Typically, this will involve not only the use of specific words to damage a reputation, but also actions such as hand gestures or facial expressions in order to reinforce the misinformation that is being distributed. Any defamation that is “transitory” — in other words, not fixed in a permanent medium — is usually considered slander.
One of the easiest ways to understand slander is to consider the example of actions of an employee who is unhappy with his company’s policies and procedures. At an event including employees with their spouses and partners, the disgruntled employee begins to spread untrue information about the business and its owners. As part of his remarks, the employee may state that the company owners engage in business activities that are illegal as well as unethical. Unless the employee has reliable evidence to back up these claims against the specific people identified in the statements, he could be held liable for slander.
What Is Libel?
Libel refers to statements that damage another person’s reputation. The difference is that libel takes the form of printed — or otherwise “fixed” — material rather than verbal assaults. Typically, libel in the United States can involve untrue words or images that are published in print publications as well as material published on a web site.
Continuing with the example of the disgruntled employee, he may choose to leave the company and write an exposé of the owners and the company operations. The exposé includes not only the untrue information that was previously deployed verbally, but also may include photographs that were taken and then used out of context to reinforce the purported validity of the lies. This type of activity would likely constitute libel.
Compiled by: Saluja Baidar
(2nd Sem BICT)