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We have been defamed and cyberbullied

Straight Talk
by Nimfa L. Estrellado

It seems like almost anything goes on the Internet these days. You have cyber stalkers, cyber bullies and online defamation. Internet trouble makers are plentiful mainly because these people think they are safe and anonymous hiding behind their keyboards. They believe they can lie about you and destroy your good name over the Internet and that you can’t do anything about it.

Individuals now have the freedom to inexpensively and easily share everything from their art to their opinions online. However, the ease and anonymity associated with posting information on the Internet, comes at the cost of providing a perfect avenue for those seeking to abuse the system. So what happens when, for instance, an opinionated Internet rant goes too far? More importantly, do the victims of these scenarios have any rights under the law, or are they at the mercy of the author or poster?

Defamation law is all about protecting people’s or business entity’s reputations from attacks that are unfair and unwarranted. Essentially, the basic law of defamation is quite straightforward. It is about achieving a balance between the right of a person to have their reputation protected with the right of all people to freedom of speech. Under defamation law, people are able to sue those who write or say false and malicious comments.

The party who has been defames can rightfully sue the person or the party who has made the remarks that can have negative impact on the reputation. Many countries have laws that protect one against such irresponsible dialogues and remarks. Any written or spoken comment that is harmful to a person’s or business entity’s reputation can be classed as defamation. Victims of online reputation attacks and online intimidation should take their cases to the High Court instead of reporting them to the police.

Social media is a major gateway to connect and relate with people. The introduction of social media sites smoothed the way for faster communication and easier information dissemination which have led to development of new businesses, promotion of public individuals and business products and the like. But with all these positive points that sprang from these social media sites, there were also negative things that came out in relation to their success, and one of these is the increase in defamation cases worldwide. Social media sites are not to be blamed for this trend. Instead, individuals who use social media to spread false allegations about a person, group or a business entity should be the ones apprehended.