What is fair comment in defamation?

Asked By: Hyusein Brumer | Last Updated: 7th April, 2020
Category: news and politics law
4.6/5 (105 Views . 9 Votes)
Legal Definition of fair comment
: a common-law privilege to criticize and comment on matters of public interest without being liable for defamation provided that the comment is an honest expression of opinion and free of malice.

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Furthermore, when can fair comment be used as a Defence?

Fair comment is defined as a "common law defense [that] guarantees the freedom of the press to express statements on matters of public interest, as long as the statements are not made with ill will, spite, or with the intent to harm the plaintiff".

Furthermore, what is the fair report privilege? Definition. A protection that immunizes a party from liability for publishing defamatory matter that appears in an accurate and complete report of an official action or proceeding, unless the publisher acted with the sole purpose of harming the defamed party.

Consequently, what are fair comment limitations?

• The concept of fair comment and criticism means that companies and individuals voluntarily display their wares to the public for sale or consumption, they have no real recourse against criticism done with honest purpose and lack of malicious intent.

Is the truth a Defence to defamation?

In simple terms, yes, truth is a defence to defamation. This defence is also known as justification. To successfully defend a defamation claim, a defendant needs to show that the defamatory imputations complained about (as opposed to the published statements) are "substantially true".

22 Related Question Answers Found

What is fair comment and criticism?

Legal Definition of fair comment
: a common-law privilege to criticize and comment on matters of public interest without being liable for defamation provided that the comment is an honest expression of opinion and free of malice.

What is the best defense for libel?

The major defenses to defamation are:
  • truth.
  • the allegedly defamatory statement was merely a statement of opinion.
  • consent to the publication of the allegedly defamatory statement.
  • absolute privilege.
  • qualified privilege.
  • retraction of the allegedly defamatory statement.

Who has absolute privilege?

25, Topic 2, §§ 585-592A, absolute privilege extends to judicial officers, attorneys, jurors, witnesses in legislative proceedings, legally required publications, and statements made by a party during trial or in a pleading.

Can an opinion be defamatory?

Defamation is a False Statement of Fact, Not Opinion
The most important aspect of a potentially defamatory statement is that it purports to be a statement of fact. Opinions are not defamatory. If that statement isn't true, it is defamatory. That is a false statement that clearly can cause injury to Joe.

What is an opinion statement?


An opinion is a judgment, viewpoint, or statement that is not conclusive.

Are opinions protected by First Amendment?

The right to speak guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution includes the right to voice opinions, criticize others, and comment on matters of public interest. This is not to say that every statement of opinion is protected.

How can a public relations person take precautions to avoid libel suits?

How can a PR person take precautions to avoid libel suits? -Opinions need to be with facts. -Don't say false statements that can damage someones reputation. -Only give news reporters basic info like: confirmation that they are an employee, person's title and job description, and date of start and end of job.

What is the meaning of public figure?

A public figure is a person, such as a politician, celebrity, social media personality, or business leader, who has a certain social position within a certain scope and a significant influence and so is often widely of concern to the public, can benefit enormously from society, and is closely related to public

What is the actual malice standard?

Actual malice is the legal standard established by the Supreme Court for libel cases to determine when public officials or public figures may recover damages in lawsuits against the news media.

Who has the burden of proof in a defamation lawsuit?


3 Answers. The burden of proof is always on the plaintiff (except for counterclaims brought by the defendant against the plaintiff). In your example, the businessman has to prove that he did not rape her.

Is the truth slander?

Truth is an absolute defense to libel claims, because one of the elements that must be proven in a defamation suit is falsity of the statement. If a statement is true, it cannot be false, and therefore, there is no prima facie case of defamation.

How do you defend against a defamation suit?

How Can I Defend Myself Against a Libel or Slander Lawsuit?
  1. The statement must be proved false. Truth is an absolute defense to defamation.
  2. There must be communication.
  3. The statement is opinion, not fact.
  4. There must be harm.
  5. Consent has been given.
  6. Privilege or immunity can be claimed.

What are the Defences to a charge of defamation?

Below, we set out eight defences to defamation including justification, triviality and innocent dissemination.
  • Justification.
  • Absolute Privilege.
  • Publication of Public Documents.
  • Fair Report of Proceedings of Public Concern.
  • Qualified Privilege for Provision of Certain Information.
  • Honest Opinion.
  • Innocent Dissemination.

What are the exceptions of defamation?

  • [Exceptions]
  • First Exception. —Imputation of truth which public good requires to be made or published.
  • Second Exception. —Public conduct of public servants.
  • Third Exception. —Conduct of any person touching any public question.
  • Fourth Exception.
  • Fifth Exception.
  • Sixth Exception.
  • Seventh Exception.

What is the remedy for defamation?


The remedies in defamation are compensatory damages, aggravated damages, business or financial loss (if applicable), interest on damages, costs and in some cases injunctive relief.

What is slander vs libel?

Defamation is an area of law that provides a civil remedy when someone's words end up causing harm to your reputation or your livelihood. Libel is a written or published defamatory statement, while slander is defamation that is spoken by the defendant.

What is truth Defence?

Truth. The main defence to a libel action is 'truth', that is being able to prove that the defamatory allegation is substantially true. Truth is a new statutory defence to an action to libel (introduced by the Defamation Act 2013) which replaces the old common law of justification.