Defamation - Criminal Defamation

Criminal Defamation

See also: Defamatory libel

Many nations have criminal penalties for defamation in some situations, and different conditions for determining whether an offense has occurred. ARTICLE 19, a free expression advocacy group, has published global maps charting the existence of criminal defamation law across the globe, as well as showing countries that have special protections for political leaders or functionaries of the state.

It should be noted that there can be regional statutes as well that may differ from the national norm. For example, in the United States, defamation is generally limited to the living. However, there are ten states (Colorado, Idaho, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah and Washington) that have criminal statutes regarding defamation of the dead.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has also published a detailed database on criminal and civil defamation provisions in 55 countries, including all European countries, all member countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the United States and Canada.

In a 2012 ruling on a complaint filed by a broadcaster who had been imprisoned for violating Philippine libel law, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights held that the criminalization of libel violates freedom of expression and is inconsistent with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

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