In which, if any, countries is truth not an absolute defense against a libel charge?

In America, you can say and print anything you want about anyone (with very few, very circumscribed limitations) as long as it is true and not fear criminal prosecution for libel or slander. (Anyone can bring civil suit against anyone at any time, but the case faces being thrown out if it makes the judge’s eyes roll back in his head.)

In which countries is that untrue? Are there any?

I’m entitled to one bump after two days with no responses, I think.

AFAIR: In most countries using the English style legal system truth is not a defence to libel, whether absolute or not. Instead there must also be an element of the statement being in the public interest.

So if your classmate Sue is a dirty filthy whore, and it’s a known fact, and you claim so on MySpace, shouldn’t the public be aware?

No. See, easy.

I can’t find a very good cite, but I guess you could argure Miss Vermont had no claim to privacy.

Well, as the OP said, the standards in the U.S. are tough, more so if the subject of the story is deemed “a public figure.” A beauty pageant winner may well qualify as a public figure.

In the US, a story about a public figure is not libelous unless

  1. it’s demonstrably false

  2. the writer demonstrably KNEW it was false

  3. the writer demonstrably printed this falsehood for the specific purpose of hurting the public figure

If any of those elements is lacking, the victim of a libel is out of luck.

Could be, but the OP is asking about countries other than the USA.

Well, I’m no expert, but this appears to be untrue, at least for England and Wales: (See: “Can you succeed in law”).

If I’m reading those two points correctly, then the truth is a defence in England and Wales, as it implies that the act isn’t defamatory.

I presume that the site is referencing English law as it references Parmiter v. Coupland (1840).

In the Republic of Korea, truth is not a defense against a slander suit. That’s one reason why a good number of “hagweons” (cram schools) do not appear on blacklists.

Truth + court + Middle East = Bawahahahhahaa

(For those playing along at home, the Republic of Korea is the official name of South Korea. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is North Korea, which is just as evil a spot to live as any country with that many adjectives would seem.)

What is the standard for slander in the ROK?

Care to make your assertion a bit more germane to the OP’s question. Could you break it down by country? You know–actually contribute something intelligent to the discussion.

Actually the 2 of interest here are:

  • Truth/Justification and

  • Fair Comment.

Without going into too much detail, this does seem to show that truth, on its own , is not an adequate defence. Although the former says “substantially justify or prove the truth” I think it means “and prove the truth.”

The latter talks of “fair” comment and evidence of malice, which are kind of the same thing I indicated in my earlier post. However in depth research may show that my recollection or understanding was wrong.

If the person who claims to have been slandered can atrribute any financial damage to his business or loss of reputation to the “slanderous” comments, the judge will side with that person. As mentioned above, it doesn’t matter that the comment was true, just that it was “damaging.”

That certainly answers my question. Thank you.

Dominic Mulligan, Sevastopol: British law was what was in the back of my mind when I posted the thread, but I made it as broad as possible because I’m interested in law of this form all over the world. Thus, your discussion is very interesting to me.

Does the converse apply, that you could say anything you want about someone/something if it is not possible to cause financial damage to the entity.

In Korea? Please. Everything here is connected to money and reputation.

Yikes! So, is it basically impossible to ever say anything damaging about a big company or a rich person? I’m guessing that Korean news shows must be quite a bit different than their American counterparts.

It used to be that in Australia, a defendant had to demonstrate both truth and public benefit. The theory was said to be that as a nation of convict backgrounds wherever you looked, it was too easy to defame people who needed protection. That went by the board in very recent times. The states got together and decided on uniform principles that allowed a defence of “substantial truth”. For an example, see here:

This is a 2005 Act from one of the states. Take a look at s 25 for the new law.