Individuals and businesses can sue for defamation, but government agencies are excluded from the lawsuit. Anyone involved in the publishing chain can be prosecuted – both large publishers (such as journalists, publishers and the media house that publishes the content) and secondary publishers such as booksellers and distributors. Defamation has become one of the most common issues clients discuss with lawyers. They are either defamed on social media or accused of defaming someone else or a company on social media. The first defense often made by the media when faced with a defamation lawsuit is that the statement published is true and that its publication is in the public interest. A media house or journalist could also raise the related defence of public media privilege if it is determined that the statement was indeed false. In this case, the defendant must allege and prove that he had reason to believe that the statement was true and that he had taken reasonable steps to verify its accuracy and that publication was appropriate accordingly. The right to defamation is one of the most complex and uncertain areas of our law, especially because a court must balance the competing constitutional rights of dignity and privacy with freedom of expression. At the same time, however, the right to freedom of expression can also be restricted and must not interfere with the rights of others, in this case the right to an intact reputation. You need professional legal assistance to prove a case of defamation and claim the appropriate damages. 2.
Deliberate: The person who commits the defamation must, first, deliberately focus his will on damaging the reputation of the other person with certain remarks, and second, the person making the statements must have known that what he is doing is illegal and unlawful and causes harm to the other person. The conditions of illegality and intent are deemed to be fulfilled if a person has proved the publication of a defamatory statement. The Court stated in this context: « If a plaintiff proves that a defendant has published a defamatory statement about him, the publication is presumed to have been both illegal and intentional. A defendant who wishes to avoid liability for defamation must then present a defence refuting illegality or intent. This was stated by the Court in Khumalo v. Holomisa  ZACC 12; 2002 (5) SA 401 (CC). In the case of the media, « defamation » can be defined more narrowly than the illegal and negligent publication of defamatory material about another person that damages reputation. Whether you like it or not, social media has become a strong presence in our daily lives. With hundreds of thousands of Facebook status updates, tweets, and overly filtered Instagram images posted every second of the day, you really need to think carefully about what we`re sharing. Of course, there`s not much to share with the viral video of a cat dressed as a pirate, or to let your friends and followers know if, for example, you`ve trained your gym for the day. But it`s important to know that a social media platform isn`t necessarily the place where you can say and do whatever you want. In fact, there could be serious legal consequences for certain posts, downloads, and comments.
The elements of defamation, all of which must be proven by the plaintiff after weighing the probabilities, are as follows: A defamation and privacy action can be brought within 3 years, from which the plaintiff becomes aware of the defamatory statement and its publication (or intrusion, in case of privacy by intrusion). After this period, the claim becomes time-barred, which means that it cannot be asserted because it would be time-barred. Certain elements must be present for a person to succeed in a defamation suit. The elements consist of (i) illegal, (ii) intentional (iii) publication of a defamatory statement about a person. The law requires that all three of the above elements be present to successfully prove that a party has suffered defamation. The CC added the following: « In establishing ordinary significance, the court does not take into account the meaning that the author of the statement sought to convey. Nor is it a question of the importance attached to it by the persons for whom it was published, whether or not they believed it to be true, or whether or not they thought less of the applicant at that time. The test to be applied is objective. In accordance with this objective criterion, the criterion is the weight that the reasonable reader of ordinary intelligence would attach to the statement. In applying this test, it is accepted that the reasonable reader would understand the statement in context and would have considered not only what is said explicitly, but also what is implied. 5. Publication: A defamation action is only successful if a third party has heard the defamatory statements in a broadcast or read them in a newspaper, magazine or any other form, such as a website.
Publication can be written, spoken or in body language. The publication can be made to one person or to a few thousand people. In these cases, the burden of proof lies primarily with the plaintiff, who must prove all the elements of defamation. If he proves the defamation, the burden of proof lies with the defendant. If the plaintiff is successful and the defamation is proven, the court will rule in his favour. The losing party in these cases is usually ordered to pay the costs of the dispute, which are calculated according to a judicial tariff. What do I need to prove to win my defamation lawsuit? The test used by our courts to determine whether a statement is defamatory is called the reasonable person test. If a reasonable and objective person who hears or reads the words thought less of you because of it, it would be considered slander. The law on character defamation is not as simple as it sounds – there are complicated parts to consider. With the use of social media in the internet-powered world we live in, this is even more true.
We recommend that you consult a lawyer if you are being defamed or accused of defamation to ensure that you understand your legal perspective and the legal remedies you can take. It would be easy to keep blaming anonymous bots and no profile picture online, but it`s not so easy anymore. More and more people are falling into this trap of online defamation believing that they can say whatever they want online without any real consequences. What are the objections to a defamation suit? Ultimately, it`s imperative that you be aware of what you`re posting and posting on social media, as it can have serious consequences. Second, you must prove that the person who made the statement or comment knew that what they said was illegal or illegal in the eyes of the law and would harm you. Defamation is described as the intentional and unlawful publication of a statement defamatory of an aggrieved person, which has the effect of damaging the reputation and reputation of the injured party. Defamation claims include (though rarely) obtaining an injunction (or ban) prior to publication or (usually) damages against the publisher after publication. Other remedies for defamatory statements include permanent injunctions against the repetition of statements deemed defamatory, a statement of falsehood, and an apology or retraction.