The term defamation is defined as “Holding up to a person to ridicule, scorn or contempt in a respectable and considerable part of the community; may be criminal as well as civil. Includes both libel and slander. Defamation is that which tends to injure reputation; to diminish the esteem, respect, goodwill or confidence in which the plaintiff is held, or to excite adverse, derogatory or unpleasant feelings or opinions against him. Statement which exposes person to contempt, hatred, ridicule or obloquy.
The unprivileged publication of false statements which naturally and proximately result in injury to another. A communication is defamatory if it tends so to harm the reputation of another as to lower him in the estimation of the community or to deter third persons from associating or dealing with him. The meaning of a communication is that which the recipient correctly, or mistakenly but reasonably, understands that it was intended to express.”
An imputation harms a person’s reputation which in the estimation of others directly or indirectly either:
• lowers his moral or intellectual character or
• lowers his character in respect of his caste or calling or his credit or
• causes it to be believed that his body is in a loathsome state, or in a state generally considered disgraceful.
Defamation according to Pakistani Law:
Defamation Ordinance 2002 covers all matters pertaining to defamation accrued in Pakistan:
Section 3 of the Defamation Ordinance 2002 defines defamation and its forms:
Any wrongful act or publication or circulation of a false statement or representation made orally or in written or visual form which injures the reputation of a person, tends to lower him in the estimation of others or tends to reduce him to ridicule, unjust criticism, dislike, contempt or hatred shall be actionable as defamation.
Defamation is of two forms namely: (i) Slander and (ii) Libel
Any false oral statement or representation that amounts to defamation shall be actionable as slander.
Any false written documentary or visual statement made either by ordinary form or expression or by electronic or other modern means or devices that amounts to defamation shall be actionable as libel.
Section 4: makes the Defamation actionable:
The publication of defamatory matter is an actionable wrong without proof of special damage to the person defamed and where defamation is proved, damage shall be presumed.