When is a blog defamatory?
Most of us write blogs from time to time. Sometimes it is used in a manner to vent about our lives. However, depending on the nature of the blog post, you could be facing potential legal risk. Thus the question you may have asked yourself, is my blog defamatory?
Defamation unlike other areas of law is not concerned with the subjects physical safety, mental health or (in most cases) financial position. Rather, it focuses on their reputation and what an ‘ordinary reasonable person’ might think of the subject after reading the defamatory post.
Clients often ask us if they write about someone else, what can be done to ensure what is stated is not defamatory.
Simply, truth is a complete defence to defamation. If the content of a blog post besmirches someones reputation, no matter the degree of reputation lost, then the blog is not defamatory if the content is true. However, the burden of proof that’s the words are true is on the person who writes the blog.
The other defence to defamation is that the alleged statement was merely a statement of opinion. However, it is not always clear what that means. In one sense, an opinion cannot be true or false. If you express your opinion about a matter of public interest and it’s based on true facts, then you are entitled to the belief that you have.
It is generally known that defamation cases are hard to win and commentators have gone as far to say that only 13% win. Some people say that the cost of challenging a statement in court can far exceed the final award at the end. In order to win a case, the person suing must prove damage to their reputation.
So what all this means is if you publish false and malicious comments that injures someone’s standing or reputation in the community this could amount to defamation and put you at legal risk.
In the age of the internet where everything is seen and nothing is ever permanently gone once uploaded, you should always take caution before venting online or posting anything on a social media platform that could be construed as defamatory.
Take away tip: Get to the truth and do not write things that are unable to be substantiated.
If you feel you have been defamed or have been accused of defamation, please contact us at Sharon Givoni Consulting.