Libel: When a statement becomes libellous

Category: Social media, The Internet 280 1


I’m sure libel is one of the trending topic these days because the Supreme Court declared that ONLINE libel in the Cybercrime law is constitutional.

What is really a libel and how to determine a libelous statement?

Libel is written or published statements that are false and damaging to other person’s reputation. Libel is sometimes confused with the term Slander. Slander is the same as libel in most states, but Slander is spoken rather than in written form.

The terms “libel” and “slander” are often subsumed under the broader term “defamation.” It is a tort (a wrongful act) to harm another’s reputation by defaming them.

Also read: 

Get to know the Philippine Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012

According to Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code, libel is the “public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status or circumstance tending to discredit or cause the dishonor or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead.”

To determine a libelous statement the following elements must be present. There is no libel if one of the following elements is missing.

  1. Is there imputation of a crime, a vice or a defect to others?
  2. Does the imputation published?
  3. Is the person being defamed identified?
  4. Is there malice?

With respect to Cybercrime law and to avoid being accuse of libel, refrain making statements that are untrue and damaging to others.


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