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• Every man is entitled to have his reputation.

• Jurist Blackstones has added to this


proposition and indited that “Every man is
entitled to have his reputation preserved
inviolate”
Definition
• Defamation means the offence of injuring a
person's character, fame, or reputation by
false and malicious statements:
• Exposing a person to hatred –contempt-
ridicule –
• Injuring his trade, business, profession, calling
or office.
• Cause him to be shunned or avoided in the
society.
• The word defamation is driven from Latin
word ‘Diffamare’
• 'Spreading evil report about someone.
Essential characteristics of defamation

The Statement must be defamatory.

The said statement must refer to the Plaintiff.

The Statement must be published


Categories of Defamation
• Libel: • Slander:
• Representation in a • Depiction in transient
permanent form. form.

• Writing, printing, • It is basically through


picture, effigy or words spoken or
statute. gestures.
Monson V. Tussauds (Libel)
• Libel need not always be in writing.

• It may be conveyed in some other permanent form as a statue, a


caricature, an effigy, chalk mark on a wall, sign or pictures.

• In the same case, the defendants, who kept a wax works exhibition,
had exhibited a wax model of the plaintiff with a gun, in a room
adjoining the ‘Chamber of Horrors’ (a room in the basement, in
which the wax models of notorious criminals were kept).

• The plaintiff has been tried for murder in Scotland and released on
a verdict of ‘Not proven’ and a representation of the scene of the
alleged murder was displayed in the chamber of horrors. The Court
of Appeal held that the exhibition was libel.
Falsity
• Charge presumed in Plaintiff’s favour.
• BOP: defendant.
• Malice is relevant only in assessing damages.
• Vulgar abuse: Abusive language which amounts to a
mere insult and abusive language which is both
insulting and defamatory.
• Parvathi v. Mannar: Defendant abused the Plaintiff and said
that she was not the legally married wife of the husband-
Unchaste.
• Defendant was liable-though no special damage was proved.
• Mental distress caused by words of abuse which are also
defamatory.
Statement must refer to the Plaintiff

• Not necessary that the Plaintiff has been named in the


statement.
• Description can be by initial letters-fictitious name.
• Test: whether any reasonable person knew that this
statement refers to the Plaintiff.
• It is sufficient-those who know the Plaintiff-can make out that
he is the person meant.
• It is immaterial whether the defendant intended the
defamatory statement to apply to the plaintiff, or knew of the
plaintiff's existence.
E. Hulten & Co. v. Jones:

• Defendant printed an article that accused a man


named Artemus Jones of adultery.
• In the article, Artemus was a churchwarden who
resided at Peckham. Plaintiff was a lawyer named
Thomas Artemus Jones of North Wales.
• Plaintiff was not a churchwarden and did not reside at
Peckham.
• Defendant never heard of Plaintiff and had used the
name Artemus Jones as a fictitious name. Plaintiff
produced witnesses who said they had read the article
and thought that it referred to Plaintiff.
• The defamatory statement must be understood by right
thinking or reasonable minded persons as referring to the
plaintiff.