“Good name in man and woman … is the immediate jewel of their souls. Who steals my purse steals trash … but he that filches from me my good name robs me of that which not enriches him, and makes me poor indeed” (Shakespeare)
Our laws of defamation are there to help you protect your good name from unlawful attack, and a recent High Court judgment about a defamatory Facebook post is a pertinent reminder of how this protection applies online as well as in the real world.
Neighbours, noisy chickens, smelly rabbits, and a “peeping tom” slur
Defamation being generally defined as ‘the unlawful, intentional, publication of defamatory matter (by words or conduct) referring to the Plaintiff, which causes his reputation to be impaired”, the Court held that H had indeed been defamed and was entitled to compensation by way of damages.
Taking all the circumstances of the matter into account, the Court awarded H an amount of R350,000 plus costs.
In this case Facebook was just another social network application / channel that was used by an individual to defame another, the same legal principles will apply on all other social networks or simple email applications. It is therefore imperative to ensure that your comments do not fall within the definition of defamation. For any business that allows its employees to access the internet it will be imperative to implement an appropriate social media policy.
This article is for general information purposes and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact us At DKVG Attorneys for specific and detailed advice.
© DotNews, 2005-2017. This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)