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Defamation is the communication of a statement which ruins or diminishes the reputation of an individual or organization. An allegation that someone is dishonest or a hypocrite or adulterous is always likely to be defamatory. If a defamatory allegation is made in a permanent form (e.g. sent to a third party in a letter or email, or published in a newspaper, magazine or on a website) the defamed person can sue the writer and publisher for libel in the civil courts. Unless the allegation can be proved true, or there is legal ‘privilege’ or other legal defence, the court will declare it to be libellous, which means the defamed person or organization will be awarded financial damages, to be paid by the writer and publisher, ...

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