Defamation and Freedom of Speech

Hardcover | February 14, 2008

byDario Milo

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The law of defamation contemplates the clash of two fundamental rights, the right to freedom of expression, including freedom of the media, and the right to reputation. The rules of defamation law are designed to mediate between these two rights. The central proposition that this book makes isthat defamation law needs to be reformed to balance the conflicting rights. This discussion flows from a theoretical analysis of the rights in issue; thus the value underlying the right to reputation that has most resonance is human dignity, while the value that is most apposite to freedom ofexpression in this context is the argument that free speech is integral to democracy. The argument from democracy emphasizes that speech on matters of public interest should receive greater protection than private speech. The book argues that fundamental rules of defamation law need to be reformedto take into account the dual importance of public interest speech, on the one hand, and the right to human dignity on the other. In particular, the presumptions that defamatory allegations are false and have caused damage, the principle of strict liability to primary publishers and negligenceliability to secondary publishers, and the availability of punitive damages, should not survive constitutional scrutiny. The quantum of damages and costs rules, and the remedies available in defamation cases, should also be reformed to reflect the importance of dignity to the claimant, and the freespeech interest of the public in receiving accurate information on matters of public interest.

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The law of defamation contemplates the clash of two fundamental rights, the right to freedom of expression, including freedom of the media, and the right to reputation. The rules of defamation law are designed to mediate between these two rights. The central proposition that this book makes isthat defamation law needs to be reformed to...

Partner, Media Law Department, Webber Wentzel Bowens Attorneys, Johannesburg; Part-time Lecturer, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Dr Milo has been voted one of the leading lawyers in the field of Telecommunications, Media and Technology law by Chambers Global (2007). He is currently acting for media groups in South Afri...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:270 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.06 inPublished:February 14, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199204926

ISBN - 13:9780199204922

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. The Right to Reputation3. Freedom of Expression and Freedom of the Media4. Public Speech5. The Presumption of Falsity6. Fault and Defamation Liability7. Aspects of Damages and Costs8. Alternative Remedies9. Conclusion