Defamation Defence of Truth Honest and Fair Opinion in Australian Law
In addition, Defamation Act promotes quick processes which are non-court based to resolve defamation disputes ( ALRC, 2006). It may appear that the laws of defamation are stiffly in opposition with the media, but there exists various defences which you can apply when you’re taken to court and help you from losing the case. As a broadcaster of a publisher, you have to present a proof to validate any of the following defences: The defence of truth, honest or fair opinion among others. In Australia, most common defamation case which brought silence attackers is suing the political figure, threatening to sue the media associations. The importance of these prosecutions and threats is to prevent materials which damage the politicians to proceed further ( Merritt 2007).
The defendant is allowed to plead or to justify an alternative if the published words are having more than one defamatory meaning. The court will decide the ordinary and natural meaning which is to be given to the words at issue. The court may multiply the damages of which have been claimed by plaintiff if the defence of truth fails. An example of a defence of truth would be when a newspaper starts to refer a certain person as a ‘Cheesy toes’ which implies that the person had toes which were infected with jiggers. The defence in such a case would be that that person had feet which were infected (Pearson, 2007). The defence of fair opinion is accessible when the unproven defamatory words are comments on matters which relates to the public interest.
The comments must be established on true facts (Parkes et al. The comment must fulfil the following: did the person submit that opinion on the facts honestly? If the plaintiff demonstrates that the defendant was instinctively actuated to convey malice, this can defeat the defence of fair opinion, even if the comment fulfils the honest belief objective test. The judge resolves based on if the matter is having any public interest, this means that the subject matter must be shown to be enticing attention of the public, a matter which the public raises concern over because it affects their welfare and also if the matter dishonours the public interest. An example is that you can defend yourself and say that you were just expressing an opinion in a case such as when you’re in a film or a restaurant (NSW Law Reform Commission, 2006).
You have to ask yourself this important question if you had a principled to say it. And if you have the principle to say it do you have a legal protection. The plaintiff must be able to prove that the material which was communicated was passed to the third party, the plaintiff is clearly identified in the communication and lastly, the communication stigmatizes him/her. If a person is defamed he can overcome the defence of honest opinion when he proves that the opinion was dishonest, also by proving that the publisher did not trust that the agent/employee embraced the opinion honestly. The defence of truth is a complete defence if you can be able to submit that the published material is considerably true.
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