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Defamation in today’s digital world

Print publication

11/11/2021

The issue

In 2019 the Supreme Court raised the threshold of seriousness required for a publication to be defamatory.  However, that potential ‘curb’ on claims has coincided with exponential growth in the use of social media platforms, online review sites and digital publications of all kinds.

The last year has also seen several high profile defamation cases reported in the press: the Johnny Depp libel litigation; a defamation finding against The Times; and the Trustpilot case (which considered the important debate between freedom of expression and the value of review platforms on the one hand, and the need to protect against serious reputational consequences on the other), to mention but a few.

Ease of access to wide-scale publication, the relative anonymity of online posting and an often casual attitude to veracity and substantiation, has meant that recent years have actually seen an increase in actionable defamation.

Reputational issues of this nature can cause serious harm to businesses/individuals and action often needs to be taken quickly in order to mitigate losses wherever possible. Businesses/individuals should therefore be alive to the heightened risk of defamation in today’s online environment.

The answer

Talk to us.  The effect of defamatory publications can be pervasive and difficult to quantify, yet potentially devastating. Whether you are an individual or business whose reputation is under threat from potentially defamatory publications, or whether you are a defendant facing a potential claim or complaint, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Walker Morris’ Commercial Dispute Resolution specialists are experienced and expert in the law of defamation and will be able to assist you with a ‘serious harm’ test assessment as well as providing you with a tailored resolution strategy for your case (including taking into account any associated public relations and commercial considerations).

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