Oral or written statements that have the effect of damaging a person’s reputation will constitute defamation if there are not truthful.Defamation comes in two forms:
- Libel, which refers to a defamatory expression in written form; and
- Slander, which refers to a defamatory statement expressed orally.
Whether the damaging statement is made oral or in writing, there is the added requirement that it be false or misleading, as truthfulness is a complete defence to a defamation claim.
Where a person brings an action for defamation, the extent to which the defamatory words have harmed that person’s reputation will be of paramount concern in assessing damages. Evidence will have to presented to show how the defamation has affected the plaintiff financially, emotionally and otherwise.
Defamation claims are generally commenced with a view to:
- repairing the damage caused to a person’s reputation;
- recovering monetary compensation commensurate with the economic loss/damage to the person’s reputation; and
- deterring future instances of defamation.
The internet provides an extremely powerful and inexpensive means of spreading defamatory comments to a mass audience. Social media websites and applications have ushered in a new age of cyberspace defamation, which has given rise to many new and challenging legal issues. For example, there are numerous parties who may be potentially liable for the posted defamatory comments:
- the party responsible for making the statement;
- the party responsible for posting the statement;
- the owner of the website or internet app whereupon the statement is posted;
- the site’s hosting party;
- the internet service provider;
- the search engine landing visitors on the site containing the alleged defamatory expression, etc.
The law governing defamation is complex, requiring quality representation from experienced counsel whether you are the victim of libel or slander or facing a claim for allegedly defaming another person. Trust in RV Law to represent you where defamation is at issue. Contact us online or call us toll free at 416-364-5200.