Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Defamation On Facebook: A Look at a South African Case

Anneliese Roos, University of South Africa, Department of Private Law, and Magda Slabbert, University of South Africa, School of Law, have published Defamation on Facebook: Isparta v Richter 2013 6 SA 529 (GP) in volume 17 of the Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal. Here is the abstract.

Litigation involving social media is still very new in South Africa and only a few reported cases can be found. In this case discussion, a brief overview is given of the few cases already reported, but in the main the case of Isparta v Richter 2013 6 SA 4529 (GP) is discussed. In this case a South African court for the first time awarded damages to the plaintiff for defamatory comments made on Facebook. The questions that confronted the judge were whether the alleged defamatory statements did indeed relate to the plaintiff and whether the comments, individually or collectively, could be considered defamatory. The issue whether the "tagging" of another user of Facebook makes that user liable for the defamatory comments of the tagger is also addressed in the case. The case discussion concludes with a reference to other issues that could play a role in litigation involving Facebook, namely the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 25 of 2002 and foreign law.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

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