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About Cyber Defamation
The existence of social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other
social media made defamation become much easier to share and quickly
spreading to the audience in just a minute. With the rise of these kind of social
media and explosion of the information and communications (ICT) today, the risk of
defamatory content is also increasing at alarming intensity. It becomes worse since
anyone may have access to such information and therefore it receives more publicity
since internet users are able to publish and disseminate any kind of information to the
public at large.

Unfortunately, the ease of use of these online media has a several occasions been
misused by unscrupulous individuals for publishing defamatory remarks in the cyber
world. At present, reported cases of cyber defamation have been in rise not only in
Malaysia but also whole world.

Cyber defamation can be simply as libel or slander committed using the computer the
computer or the high technology usually through internet as the instrument of crime.
Cyber defamation criminal used platform such as by blogging, by using social network,
by e-mailing or by general online defamation to defame someone, products,
organizations or etc.

There are two kinds of defamation which is libel and slander. For libel, it consists of any
written or printed words or any audible matter recorded in any form or a more or less
permanent nature. In the other hand, slander consists of spoken words or other
transitory forms of communication. To make it short, libel refers to written defamatory
statements while slander refers to oral statements.

Cyber defamation may harm reputation of someone, something, products, organization
and etc. Therefore, as the development of high technology nowadays, there are many
defamatory cases has been recorded and its increased over the year. Commonly in the
internet and social media.

Rumors and lies about something or someone that has been posted in the internet
using the social media or web pages are the example of cyber defamation. This kind
of defamation may damage someone reputation as the rumors may change people
perspective about them.

Another example are fake online profiles being created by cyber defamation criminal
with an intend to defame someone. The criminals may have their own reasons for being
that way either because of jealousy, boredom, to take revenge or etc. However, it is
still an offense because committing in cyber defamation is one of cybercrime.

Malaysia’s Cyber Defamation cases/issues
There are several forms of defamation in Malaysia; virtual writing can be an
example. These is included writing a blog, website, social media such as
Facebook or Twitter. Forms of communication developed by the structure of
language have sociolinguistic values that are influenced by elements of culture,
gender, social context and social class. So, no wonder if the statements smack
of libel or gossip often appear in current cyber writing, especially in
entertainment, as authors make writing as a one-dimensional space to express
their views and personal opinion, which are necessarily influenced by
sociolinguistic elements.
One of the hottest issues of cyber defamation in 2010 was the writings of a
blogger who calls himself Aduka Taruna. Writing enraged enough to have many
Punishment for defamation
parties and are involved in the death of the late Sultan Johor, Sultan Iskandar
who died on January 22, 2010 at the age of 77 years. Although the bloggers who Section 500
submitted himself, he will be charged under Section 233 (3) of the
“Whoever defames another shall
Communication and Multimedia Act 1988, and if convicted could be fined of be punished with imprisonment
RM1,000 per day during the offense. Aduka cadets had been cursing and for a term which may extend to
insulting the departed who were just died. Although he issued an apology on his two years or with fine or with
blog itself, that error has been committed cannot be closed and generally
accepted that most of the support that he received on punishment he deserved.

Other than blog, the rise of cyber defamation in social media also give concerned
to this country. For example, the case of defamation on Facebook against the Section 499
centre of child’s studies. A Malaysian court has sentenced a man to pay RM
100,000 ($ 31,000) for defaming via Facebook to the training centre where his “Whoever, by words or intended
to be read or by signs, or by
son was studying. It was reported by local media. The penalty imposed by Leong
visible representations, makes or
Yook Kong for spreading rumors of corruption on the centre, lower mechanical publishes any imputation
after stopping at an examination of the social network. Leong said that the centre concerning any person,
was guilty fraud and corruption in their Facebook profile, so the court has intending to harm, or knowing or
having reason to believe that
sentenced the Centre to compensate for the damages caused.
such imputation will harm the
In 2012, Malaysia’s Najib Razak made history by becoming the country’s first
reputation and shall also be
liable to fine of such person, is
Prime Minister to sue a media organization for libel. The case, however, is rather said, except in the cases
odd since Najib’s lawyers are claiming that he was defamed by the hereinafter excepted, to defame
comments made by readers of the Malaysiakini news website. In other that person.”
words, Najib is suing Malaysiakini editors not for publishing a libelous news story
but for allowing libelous comments to be posted on their website. Malaysiakini is
an independent and award-winning news website. It applied for a license to
publish a newspaper but was denied by the government in 2012. The libel suit
was filed after Malaysiakini refused to apologize and remove two “offending”
Yoursay articles posted on its website last month. Yoursay is a section in
Malaysiakini where comments on a particular news article are compiled into one
news story.

Defamation of Death on the Internet

Defamation on Facebook

The Effects of Cyber Defamation
The widespread of cyber defamation will bring a lot of effects to the society especially to the
victim. The effects including changed people perspective about the victim. The people might
think negatively about the victim because they believed in the rumors and gossip that has spread
in the internet. This will make the people threated the victim badly, being prejudices against
him/her or not interested to get closer to them and get away from them.

Besides that, cyber defamation also will damage reputations of someone, products,
organizations or company due to defamation that has been spread in the internet especially in
media social. For example, if someone made a false statement about the company’s product by
saying the product was actually not good because of something and the people believed it, the
company will suffer losses. It is because, the customers lost their confidence with the products
and afraid to use it anymore.

In the other hand, cyber defamation also caused the victim suffering emotional trauma. This
problem will infiltrate every part of victim’s life and causing psychological struggles. In some
cases, it can lead victim to thought about suicide. This is because they think that suicide would
be the best way to separate them from pain of defamatory as they are constantly being hurt will
the defamation they faced.

Other than that, the cyber defamation also caused the victim to be in depression. This is
because, the defamation about them made everything around them changed. This included the
way people treated them, they maybe being insulted and ashamed by the society because of
defamation that being published about them and this has changed people perspective and
behavior towards the victim not the same as before.

In addition, cyber defamation is also able to threaten national security. The widespread of
defamation will affect the name of the country and thus cause trouble threatened to the country.
For example, false statement being post by someone about racial and religious issues in
Malaysia could create critical atmosphere that could trigger war and bloodshed among different
races in Malaysia. It is indeed concerned the national security when the misunderstanding a
rise due to defamation in society.

Factors/reasons of cyber defamation

1. To take revenge
In 2010, a student in New South Wales took to Twitter and
Facebook with a grudge against a teacher. His comment on
Twitter were considered defamatory and he was ordered to pay
$105,000 in damages to the teacher. (by Sue Scheff) From the
story above we can simply say that reasons of cyber defamation
are to take revenge. Someone who holding grudge may lead them
to take revenge from what they had been faced. They will seek to
cause harm to an individuals or company because of personal
matter that may be happen between them. They also intend to
destroy or get personal satisfaction of seeing the victim suffer the

2. Jealousy
Defamation done because of jealousy usually occurred from
dissatisfaction of individuals, party or etc. For example, the
criminal jealous of the company products or individual
achievement because him/her not doing so well unlike them. The
criminal intended to harm their reputation and maybe make them
lose their job by spread false news in the internet.

3. Social pressure
The stress of life can make one act out of control. They want the
other to feel the same as they are. By seeing someone suffer may
satisfied them.

4. Freedom of Speech

Freedom of speech is a key factor in the spread of information in
contemporary society and can be a potent political force. The
society that are free to express and speak their thought on the
internet can lead to act out of control in sharing information
without thinking about the consequences of others.

Defamation Involving Court Cases

Defamation Statistic

Chart 1 : Defamation cases among country.

Video 1: News on Fox 27 News about defamation

Video 2: Social Media Defamation

How do I prove defamation?

1.) You must prove is that the statement constitutes a false statement of fact. A
fact is different than an opinion. A fact can be proven true or false. Opinions are not
2.) The false statement of fact must harm your reputation. In order to constitute
libel, a statement must not only be false but must harm you or your company’s
reputation and cause harm.
3.) The false statement of fact causing harm must be made without adequate
due diligence or research into the truthfulness of the statement or with full
knowledge of its falsity.

I know for a fact I’m a victim of defamation! What do I do?

If your attacker is anonymous, secure the services of a cyber investigation firm. In your
case, early investigative work is critical to the success of your lawsuit. The investigation
firm can find the residence, name, and phone number of your attacker. In doing so, they
may also be able to have the content removed from the attacker’s website.
If you know full well who the attacker is, find a lawyer that specializes in cyber


1. Implement specific law for internet defamation to be
enacted in Malaysia and enforcing the law more

2. Effective and strict punishment should be
introduced and applied for the internet offender.

3. Educate society about cyber defamation and create
awareness of the guardian to control cyber
defamation and cybercrime.