What Is Defamation Of Character?


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Defamation of character is a right of legal action against someone, or an organisation, who has communicated statements that may harm an individual's character or reputation i.e. Defame it.  The common law origins of defamation lie in the torts (civil wrongs for which damages may be claimed) of libel and slander.  Libel is primarily a published, written form of defamation - though it can also include films, statues and effigies.  Slander is any spoken, unpublished defamation.      Most legal systems sometimes require the subject of the alleged defamation to prove in court that the defendant made the statement with 'malice', meaning that the defendant either believed that the statement was false or that they acted with 'reckless disregard' as to whether it was false.       You can get away with statements that might otherwise be considered slander under the 'absolute privilege' rule, which renders people making statements in certain specific situations or places immune to being sued.  Examples of people thus protected include witnesses giving evidence under oath or lawmakers' statements made in a session of the legislature, as with the 'parliamentary privilege' that exists in the U.K and Commonwealth.   

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