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Defamation Definition

Defamation is making statements, which put someone’s reputation at risk or destroys the reputation of an individual. Defamation can be in several forms. It can be libel defamation, in which the destructive statements are made through publishing. It can be slander defamation, in which the destructive allegations are made through spoken word. According to defamation law, an individual is guilty of defamation if he or she knows the truth and decides to make false claims against another. A person is also guilty of defamation if he or she had an opportunity to know the truth but disregards that and decides to take the false allegation. The person whose reputation is at stake may decide to seek legal intervention through a court of law. This means that defamation can be sued in a court of law. Defamation is punishable by paying the complaint an amount of money according to the dictations of the court (Patterson, 2009).

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Defamation Case Example

Nick Whippet claims that Peter Piper's opposition to the plot has more to do with the fact that he has recently purchased several farms in Wessex North, which he stands to lose than with his apparent concern for the preservation of the countryside are defamation of libel type. That is defamation that is published. Whippet writes to Sanjay making this claim. Therefore, since it is not through the word of mouth, it is libel defamation.

Sanjay confronts Piper with the allegation during a Parliamentary debate and accuses him of abusing his position by failing to disclose his personal interests. This falls under slander defamation. This is because; Sanjay made these claims verbally during parliamentary seating. The Wessex Daily Globe is interested in this matter and published a detailed report of the debate. This gain falls under libel defamation.

Sanjay has also written to the Wessex Daily stating that “Peter Piper MP is a liar whose only interest is to protect his own property at the expense of bringing employment into the region.” Using this information, which it does not check with Peter Piper, the newspaper prints an editorial criticizing Peter Piper in similar terms. The newspaper, through printing information that it does not seek its ground or truth, is guilty of committing libel against Peter Piper.

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In that case, peter can sue the newspaper for libeling him. That is; the newspaper published false information concerning him, which puts his reputation at risk. Peter can also sue Sanjay for slander as well as sue Whippet for libel. It is whippet that came up with this allegation. Therefore, he is guilty of libel while the newspaper is guilty of the same for publishing the allegations without digging the truth of the matter.


According to defamation law, the absolute defense of defamation is the truth. That is; whatever that is true stands against the false claims or allegation putting a person’s reputation at risk. In that case, the fact that Piper does not own the properties alleged in the false claims is an absolute defense. The newspaper in this case published the false claims with complete recklessness and disregard of whether the information was true. The newspaper could have made consultations on the same before publishing the false claims. In particular, the newspaper could have consulted Piper on the same question then publishes the information they felt was true. Their failure to seek the truth of the allegations makes their publishing the allegation defamation. If they were completely unaware of the truth or they had no means of getting the truth, they could not be guilty of defamation.

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This defamation falls under Defamation per se since it affects Piper’s profession or career. Defamation per se means that this defamation does not have to be proved because of its extent of damage (Patterson, 2009).

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