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Law and the Media, 4th Edition by Estelle Overs, Tom Cassels, Tom Crone

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1 Defamation

Marietta Cauchi

1.1 Introduction

The law of defamation protects the reputation of a person from defamatory statements made about him to a third party without lawful justification. The English common law places great value on the right of reputation. It is less concerned with freedom of expression. The result is that those in the media are in much the same position as other members of the public when it comes to defamatory statements, having only limited special protection.

The common law of defamation in England is based on case law codified by statute, most recently the Defamation Act 1996. The origins of the law of defamation date back as far as King Alfred the Great who, in the ninth century, decreed that slanderers should have ...

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