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Slander and Libel – The Two Forms of Defamation

Posted on December 3, 2015 in Civil Law

Telling lies is a daily occurrence within any society, and telling lies about someone can be a common occurrence in everyday life. There are times where these circumstances are handled well by just a moment of discussion. Other times, it would lead to hot-headedness and a few exchanges of angry words. Telling false statements can be harsh and be done anytime and anywhere — and these false statements can lead to something as creating serious damage to another person’s reputation.

Under defamation, defined as any statement/s that can damage one’s reputation, are two forms on which the act can be done. Identified as slander and libel as the two said forms, these twos are becoming less distinct. Plus, a lot of people are confused about the difference between the two forms of defamation. So what exactly is the difference between slander and libel?

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Slander, the first of the two forms of defamation, is harming someone else’s reputation, either through false or misleading information, in transitory form. Speaking of false words and statements are the most elements that are taken into account. The use of hand gestures, facial expressions, or any body language can also be accounted if it helps deliver the untrue information more to another.

Libel, on the other hand, is the second form of defamation which is telling false remarks about the victim in a “more fixed form”: by publications of untrue remarks on media. This includes newspapers, magazines, books, television, radio, and even social media.

Though both are considered to be acts of defamation, slander tends to be given a “pass,” unless the individual’s reputation is highly regarded or the individual is famous or well-known. Nevertheless, perpetrators cannot be imprisoned, but slander is considered to be civilly wrong.

In the United States of America, there exists a Lawsuit for Defamation due to the victim wanting the recovery of his or her previous reputation. The Defamation Lawsuit’s main goal is to be able to justify and show to the public that the given statements of the perpetrator about or to the victim are false. However, there lies a controversy between this lawsuit and the English Law. Since the Defamation Lawsuit’s goal is to prove that the statement by the perpetrator is false, the English Law allows the defendant to defend himself against the claims of defamation claims that he or she did to the victim, and question or critically analyze if the victim’s claim is considered to be either absolutely or substantially true. With this, the Defamation Lawsuit and the English Law have not only made things complicated, but both the lawsuit and law have questioned the freedom of speech of both individuals as well.

In conclusion, as much as there is a difference between slander and libel, both forms still fall under defamation and may not be so different after all if you look at them in their most basic form. Both have the potential to hurt someone’s reputation and possibly self-esteem. Most of all, these twos have the potential to abuse the freedom of one’s speech.

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