THE LEGAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LIBEL AND SLANDER

Libel and slander are classes of denigration, which is a false statement presented as truth and meant to damage a person’s character or reputation.

CHAMAN LAW FIRM

6/10/2022 4 min read

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THE LEGAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LIBEL AND SLANDER

Libel and slander are classes of denigration, which is a false statement presented as truth and meant to damage a person’s character or reputation. Libel is a denigrating statement made in writing, while slander is a denigrating statement that is spoken.

The concept of defamation originated in English law. The English defamation law dates back at least to the 1700s in England. With English defamation law, actions of libel are brought to the court as published statements that defame a name an identifiable individual.

Libel is a type of defamation, or communication of false information that injures the reputation of an individual, business, or group. With libel, the offending material is written or printed, involves pictures, or is in any format other than spoken words or gestures.

Slander is also a type of defamation, or communication of false information that injures the reputation of an individual, business, or group. With slander, the offending material is published in some fleeting form – spoken words or sounds, sign language or gestures. To be considered denigrating, a statement, written or spoken, must be made with the awareness that it is false or with a blatant refusal to acknowledge the truth, meaning that the person making the statement did not go the extra mile in ascertaining whether it is true or not. When made against a private citizen, as its truthfulness.opposed to a public figure such as a celebrity or politician, denigration can also be proven if the person making the statement should have known that it was untrue or should have more thoroughly checked

The types of false statements the courts may see as denigrating are broad, including statements that a person committed a serious crime, has a particular disease, or is incompetent in their job.

It is crucial to state the difference between opinion and defamation. Statements that cannot be objectively proven true or false, such as “I think Sam is dull,” are considered opinion and thus are not defamatory. However, to say, “I think Sam embezzles money from work,” while an opinion, connotes a fact that could be harmful to Sam's reputation even if untrue. This is why news outlets commonly use the word ‘allegedly’ when reporting on crimes that have yet to be tried in court.

The basic difference between libel and slander is that libel is published defamation, while slander is fleeting, mostly verbal. In the court of law, both are considered defamation—that is, the communication of an untrue statement that injures the reputation of an individual, business, or group. Some countries also have defamation laws that protect religions; these are usually known as blasphemy laws.

The statement must be addressed to a third party – in print for libel or oral for slander.

DIFFERENCE

LIBEL is (communication of an untrue statement that injures the reputation of an individual, business, product, group, government, religion, or nation) in printed words or pictures.

SLANDER (communication of an untrue statement that injures the reputation of an individual, business, product, group, government, religion, or nation) in spoken words or gestures.

FORM

LIBEL is tangible. Print, writing or pictures.

SLANDER is intangible. Spoken words or gestures.

BURDEN OF PROOF

LIBEL: Lies on the defendant in English law. Lies on the plaintiff in American law.

SLANDER: Lies on the defendant in English law. Lies on the plaintiff in American law.

CAUSE OF ACTION FOR SUIT

LIBEL: defamatory statement; Published to a third party; which the speaker knew or should have known was false; that causes injury to the subject of the communication.

SLANDER: A defamatory statement; Said to a third party; which the speaker knew or should have known was false; That causes injury to the subject of the communication.

PUNISHMENT

Libel is generally considered in civil court. Compensation given to the plaintiff, if any, is usually monetary. However, both the United States and England had seditious libel laws at one time. These stated it was a crime to criticize public officials and were punishable by prison time and at times even death penalty. However, these laws have been overturned. · Slander is also considered in civil court and any compensation given to the plaintiff is monetary.

LEGAL IMPLICATION

LIBEL: No need to prove financial damages.

SLANDER: No need to prove financial damages.

The plaintiff must also prove that the statement was such that the speaker knew or should have known was false. With slander, the said statement must also cause some damage to the plaintiff, in the form of damaged reputation, missed work, etc. In addition, public officials and celebrities must prove that the defendant had intent to harm them.

In Conclusion, it is clear that Libel and Slander are both forms of Defamation and it is clear that they are both crimes since they are injurious to the victim and can also be injurious to those connected to the victim. The world would be a better place if these crimes are curbed.

NB: This article is not a legal advice, and under no circumstance should you take it as such. All information provided are for general purpose only. For information, please contact chamanlawfirm@gmail.com

WRITTEN BY CHAMAN LAW FIRM TEAM

EMAIL: chamanlawfirm@gmail.com

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