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Defamation Law in Malaysia (2)

March 13th, 2008 · 2 Comments

In my previous post, I wrote about what is defamation, the different between libel and slander, the law governing defamation and the punishments of it.

However, do you know what are the creteria constituting defamation?

For both libel and slander, there are three main criteria which are necessary to prove defamation.

Firstly, it must be proven that the words expressed are defamatory.

Words are defamatory when they tend to lower the reputation of the person being defamed in the minds of an average person in society, so that the person is avoided or ridiculed.

Whether words are defamatory depends on the manner they were spoken or published. The words are to be judged in their ordinary meaning, as well as any special meaning which is known to the person who hears or sees those words.

That means the intention of the maker of the statement does not matter. Thus, words can be defamatory even when its maker expresses them accidentally or jokingly.

Secondly, it must be proven that the words expressed must refer to the person who claims to be defamed. Reference to him can either be direct or indirectly. Indirect reference means when there are other outside facts known to the reader or listener that makes him guess that the words refer to the person claiming to be defamed.

Thirdly, it must be proven that the words have been made to a third party, other than the person being defamed. Thus, if the person being defamed is the *only* person who hears or reads the words that defame him, there is no defamation. For example, if someone insult you or defame you in a room which has no other person except you and the maker, then you may not sue him for defamation.

Also, a person who wishes to sue another for slander must pass another criteria; he has to prove that he has actually suffered financial loss as an effect from the defamatory words being expressed. In libel, there is no such criteria. The law automatically presumes that loss has been suffered.

However, there are certain exceptions when ‘proof of actual loss’ is not necessary to prove slander. They include:

a) Slander to women ? *e.g. *when a person accuse a women for unchastity or adultery

b) Slander in relation to a person’s professional or business reputation ? * e.g. *when a person accuse a Minister for corruption

c) Slander of goods – *e.g. *when a person accuse his business rival’s shop for selling stale food

d) Imputation of a contagious disease or crime ? *e.g. *when a person accuses another for having HIV, or has committed theft.

I hope the above will help you to have a more indepth knowledge of defamation law in Malaysia. 

Tags: -==Legal Tips==-

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Robb // May 6, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    thanks dude. save my ass a lot as i need reference to it. wld appreciate it if you cld put in the reference to article what and section what.

  • 2 anonymous // Mar 4, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Hi can 1 sue someone for defamation e.g woman having an affair with the husband. Even the statement made was fairly true? They don’t have exact proof but she’s been spreading the news and even file for court?

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