Today, the virtual world knows no limits. With the drastic explosion of social media these days, everyone has an easy platform to share ideas and information that can reach a large group of people within seconds!
It also means that anyone can find them liable for defamation virtually. Defamation, as its name suggests, is action of damaging good reputation of someone else through harmful sentences about him/her that you already know are false. Slander and libel are the major forms of defamation.
When defamation lawsuit occurs, they can usually be quite expensive and stressful affairs. So, it always makes sense to minimize risks. If you too are worried about online defamation of character, make sure to follow the below suggestions and keep yourself out of it safely!
Know the difference between opinions and facts
While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, it can be sometimes critical to distinguish difference between fact and opinion. For instance, if you think that some politician lied about the campaign finances, but it is still not proven, the best idea here is to precede any kind of written or verbal statements about your belief with proper arranged words “According to my opinion”.
Moreover, truth is one of the most important defenses when it comes to defamation claim. Only say what you can easily prove. Ask yourself whether you will be able to present proper evidence before court in case someone will challenge you.
Do you have reliable sources? Are they all credible? Would they be willing to offer evidence? In case you are relying on some documents, know whether you have someone that can authenticate them.
The best protection for you against lawsuit is to act ethically. In this way, you are very less likely to make any kind of defamatory mistakes. Now, the next question is how to act ethically? The following are some of the best ways for it.
- Never rely on the biased sources
- Conduct obvious checks
- Don’t try to say more than what you actually know
- Be well prepared to issue an apology or correction in case you get something wrong
The above steps will even position you quite well to argue for defense of a qualified privilege. Be measured.
Keep in mind with whom you are dealing with
Well, it is likely that some people can sue other easily with their power. For example, celebrities, politicians, etc. Their reputation is very much important to their livelihood and they have sufficient resources to take any kind of action. Moreover, you should also be quite careful when writing about journalists and police. Even if you feel like the latest celebrity mistress is home wrecker, beware from name-calling since it can constitute character assassination.
You can take the best advantage of privilege defenses. The Defamation Act lists a complete set of events that are less or more safe to report on.
Get familiar with all these rules. Once you know how to deal with such defamation, you are less likely to face any kind of issues.