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Defamation and Libel Laws

Defamation is a wrongful act in which someone makes a false statement of fact that injures another person’s reputation. If the statement is published—that is, made public, whether in a book, a newspaper, on social media, on television—it is called libel. Defamation is not a crime, but it is a civil wrong (a tort). Lawsuits for defamation continue to disrupt the practice of journalism globally. This entry provides an overview of laws that cover defamation and libel, especially those that apply to the media; these vary from country to country, and within countries such as the United States, from state to state.

Interested groups attempt to track specific defamation cases targeting journalists. Two such groups are the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Sans Frontières (Reporters ...

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