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What is blog defamation?

December 2, 2014

One of the most serious issues a blogger might be accused of is defamation.

What is defamation?

Defamation is a statement or other form of communication that harms the reputation of an individual, business, group or government. It is difficult to provide you with the exact legal definition because it differs between countries.

According to the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) defamation constitutes ‘‘a false and unprivileged statement of fact that is harmful to someone’s reputation, and published “with fault,” meaning as a result of negligence or malice. State laws often define defamation in specific ways. Libel is a written defamation; slander is a spoken defamation.’’

Why does it matter?

Defamation should be of immediate concern for every blogger since it can lead to legal repercussions. If someone spots a potential case of defamation in your blog’s content, they might file a defamation claim in order to have the respective piece of information removed from your blog or demand financial compensation.

What can I do to avoid it?

Since there is no concrete legal definition of the term, you must generally bear in mind to abstain from false statements that tend to harm the reputation of some third party.

The reason we referred to ‘false statements’ is that not every piece of information that might be perceived as harmful to a third party’s reputation constitutes blog defamation. There is a number of exemptions, the most important of which truth. If what you state in your blog is true then you should not worry of being accused – given, of course, that you can verify it. Other exemptions include fair comment, criticism, and journalistic privilege.

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