What is libel?

The standard defense against any statement accused of being defamation, libel or slander, is the truth of the statement. Some even define libel as “An untruthful statement about a person, published in writing or through broadcast media, that injures the person’s reputation or standing in the community.”

However, a new ruling, reported in several places, is raising eyebrows throughout the publishing community because it suggests that if you’re saying bad things about someone, you could be successfully sued, even if what you wrote is absolutely true. Not that I’m in the habit of writing bad things about people, but if you ever needed another reason to follow the old adage “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all” this would be it. But it also got me thinking about the consequences of saying nothing at all.

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