Defamation on Social Media (Cyber Defamation)

“Walk away from gossip and verbal defamation. Speak only the good you know of other people and encourage others to do the same.”

Steve Maraboli

Social media is a computer-based technology that facilitates the sharing of ideas, thoughts, and information through the building of virtual networks and communities. … Users engage with social media via a computer, tablet, or smartphone etc. The accessibility of internet has changed everyone’s lives. However, such increase in convenience of communication has led to increased inconvenience by the abuse of the mediums of communication.

Freedom of Speech and Expression, as provided by the Constitution under Article 19 (1) (a), provides that all citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, but people have now started misusing their rights resulting in harming ones reputation and goodwill by trolling , passing unnecessary hate comments and false statements which actually amounts to cyber defamation.

Difference between Cyber Defamation & Physical Defamation

Defamation Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) is defined as whoever, by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representations, makes or publishes any imputation concerning any person intending to harm, or knowing or having reason to believe that such imputation will harm, the reputation of such person is said to defame that person.

Defamation falls into two categories:

Libel – A defamatory statement published in a written form.

Slander – A defamatory statement made in a verbal form (spoken).

Similarly, any such act taking place on the cyber space leads to cyber defamation or online defamation. Cyber defamation occurs when a computer connected to the internet is used as a tool, or a medium to defame a person or an entity. For example: Publishing of a defamatory statement against a person on a social networking site such as Facebook, Twitter, etc., or sending of emails containing defamatory content about a person with the intention to defame him / her.

Section 469 of the IPC (forgery for purpose of harming reputation) has been amended by the Information Technology Act, 2000 to include ‘electronic record forged’ and now reads as a whole as – whoever commits forgery, intending that the document or electronic record forged shall harm the reputation of any party, or knowing that it is likely to be used for that purpose, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Where and when to lodge a complaint

Any person aggrieved of cyber defamation can lodge a complaint to the Cyber Crime Investigation Cell at the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal. However, lodging a cyber defamation complaint against a person is one of a serious nature, since the act of filing a complaint also brings the reputation of the accused in the line of fire. Further, the onus of proving that he / she has been defamed lies entirely with the complainant and if he / she is unable to do so, the defendant shall have right to sue for defamation, false and frivolous complain, and damages thereto.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at adv.aishwaryasandeep@gmail.com

We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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