What is the Punishment for Defamation?

Last updated on Sep 8, 2022

If you say or write something to insult the reputation of a person, group of people or a company, a court can punish you for defamation. When the insult is to a group of people, the court should be able to identify this class or group of people.

If you harm the reputation of someone who is dead, the court can still punish you for defamation. The Court will look at whether:

  • you would have harmed the person’s reputation if they were alive, and
  • if you  hurt the feelings of their family or relatives.

The deceased person’s legal representatives or relatives can file the case on their behalf.

The punishment for defamation, in such cases, is jail time up to 2 years and/or a fine.

Printing or engraving something harmful to a person’s reputation and selling or trying to sell printed or engraved defamatory material are also criminal acts. The court can punish you with jail time of up to 2 years and/or with fine.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 4.4 / 5. Vote count: 11

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Please share your feedback about this post!

Sharing feedback will help us improve our content. Tell us how!

If you want to keep your feedback confidential, please mention it in your feedback. If you have a question, please ask us in the comments or Ask Nyaaya sections.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a question you want to ask our legal experts?

Related Resources

What does the law say you can/cannot do?

While anything that lowers the authority of the courts can be considered as contempt, there are certain exceptions given in the law. These include innocent publication and distribution of matter, fair and accurate reporting of a judicial proceeding, fair criticism of judicial actions, complaint against presiding officers of subordinate courts and truth.

Social Media Advertisements

The MCC applies to all social media platforms. There are five categories of social media that are regulated under the MCC.

Print Media and MCC

All print media including newspapers have to follow the rules under the MCC.

What are the Forms of Defamation?

Saying or writing something which is harmful to a person's reputation, is called defamation. It’s against the law to intentionally harm someone’s reputation, cause them to be hated or disgraced through text, image, cartoons, caricatures or effigies.

Advertisements through Television and Radio 48 Hours before Elections

Advertisements or sponsored programmes or reports which support or criticize a candidate with an intention to influence the election cannot be broadcasted on the television or the radio.

Are Reviews/Critiques Excluded from Defamation?

If a review or critique of any public material or performance was made in good faith, then it is not considered an act of defamation.