Should bloggers and tweeters be subject to the same libel and slander laws as traditional media outlets?

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  • -4

    shonanbb

    Tweets are so short, so haow can they really affect anything?

  • 5

    katsu78

    shonanbbDEC. 14, 2015 - 08:04AM JST Tweets are so short, so haow can they really affect anything?

    A common trick with Twitter is that since you can attach pictures, people add pictures of text making longer arguments. But that's beside the point really, because length of text is not a defining factor on the damage a lie can do. There are people who have had their lives destroyed or at least hugely disrupted because some anonymous jerk lost the plot and started lying about them on Twitter. And more often than not, the police response is, "So what, it's just the Internet."

    Legally speaking, all speech online should be treated as equivalent to speech made in real life. There is no rational reason for it not to be.

  • 3

    Daniel Neagari

    I say YES.... internet people tend to be so angry and aggressive, because they now they can hide. That should change... as it is a tool and a new way to communicate, it should be regulated as other traditional media.

  • 4

    It"S ME

    Big resounding YES and electronic trace, also go after sites that don't" enforce the preset rules for conduct on the Net, SNS, etc

  • 3

    Fadamor

    This is obviously a "yes", though the difficulty in proving slander or libel still is a large hurdle to get over.

  • 4

    mistie710

    If it appears in public, no matter what the medium, and it has a detrimental effect on somebody, then it's difficult to say no.

    As for the length, it's surprising how much damage you can do with less than 140 characters. It only takes one word to panic a crowded room, after all!

  • 3

    Sperry

    For good or bad, blogs, vlogs, and Twitter feeds are replacing other sources of information. Holding bloggers and tweeters to the same laws AND enforcing those laws would help reduce the incredible amount of misinformation and out-and-out lying that goes on.

    It might even reduce the amount of trolling that goes on. Not by much, but every little bit helps.

  • 1

    TheGodfather

    "Should bloggers and tweeters be subject to the same libel and slander laws as traditional media outlets?"

    In England they already are... :-)

  • 2

    Black Sabbath

    In the US, defamation is defamation. It doesn't matter if you are the President, a journalist, a blogger, Joe Schmo, or the love child of your mother and an orangutang.

  • 2

    Yubaru

    Sadly there are too many key-board commandos who think that they have the "right" to say whatever the hell they want online without facing any consequences. This should be stopped.

  • 0

    Farmboy

    There is barely any real restriction on libel or slander even for media outlets, at least in terms of actually winning a case. If you think there is, you haven't looked at any gossip magazines lately.

  • -1

    Commodore Shmidlap (Retired)

    Yes. It's a form of publishing. It's even worse because more people are exposed to bogus opinions online than they ever are in magazines and newspapers, which hardly anyone bothers to read anymore.

  • 0

    Magnet

    No. Blogging and tweeting is entirely personal conjecture. Anyone who can't see that is an idiot. Anyone wanting to police that are welcoming a storm of politically correct nonsense.

  • 1

    mistie710

    @Sabs

    In the US, defamation is defamation. It doesn't matter if you are the President, a journalist, a blogger, Joe Schmo, or the love child of your mother and an orangutang.

    True, but then the US is where money talks, and certain primate love children (yes, Maher did have a point!) have already effectively gotten away with a few slanders during this current primary alone, so it seems...

  • -2

    danalawton1@yahoo.com

    Yes absolutely, and the more the followers, the bigger the punishment.

  • 0

    Fadamor

    No. Blogging and tweeting is entirely personal conjecture. Anyone who can't see that is an idiot. Anyone wanting to police that are welcoming a storm of politically correct nonsense.

    It is "personal conjecture" that the person has published to world via the internet and therefore no longer is "personal". Tweeting that the woman who just broke up with you "was a whore before she met me" when you know that isn't true is libel. The woman would have to prove you DID know it wasn't true when you tweeted it. And therein lies the difficulty in bringing a slander or libel case to court. You have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that "malicious intent" was involved.

  • 1

    Jeff Huffman

    I can't think of any countries other than Japan and the UK that even try to enforce this. I wish we did in the US as the RW media can't get through the day without making stuff up either slanderous or bald-faced lies.

    The Internet is like a lot of tools - it can create works of art but it's mostly a conduit for crap.

  • 1

    oikawa

    I don't want to go too far off track but if you can sue someone for slander for what they blog or tweet, can you sue them for what they say, as in literally speak? Perhaps you can and its just a matter of proof, like a verbal contract being as valid as a written one, just much harder to prove.

  • 1

    katsu78

    oikawaDEC. 16, 2015 - 05:56AM JST I don't want to go too far off track but if you can sue someone for slander for what they blog or tweet, can you sue them for what they say, as in literally speak?

    That is literally the definition of slander in the first place.

  • 0

    Moonraker

    The problem is how libel and slander laws might be used by authority to quash dissent. It is authority we should be most suspicious of, though it is true that lives have been wrecked by malicious internet rumours. Hence I am still undecided.

  • 1

    Peter Payne

    Slippery slope. If I post a picture of Trump with a Hitler moustache, I am engaging in actual speech that is valid, if childish. Yet it's not "true" and may "harm" his reputation.

  • 2

    don-in-japan

    Natural extension of this, is applying the same laws to forums/comments... like those made here on JT.

    As Peter Payne said: slippery slope.

  • -1

    katsu78

    MoonrakerDEC. 16, 2015 - 08:54AM JST The problem is how libel and slander laws might be used by authority to quash dissent.

    Peter PayneDEC. 16, 2015 - 11:45AM JST Slippery slope.

    don-in-japanDEC. 17, 2015 - 06:25AM JST Natural extension of this, is applying the same laws to forums/comments... like those made here on JT. As Peter Payne said: slippery slope.

    Nope. As others have said in this very thread, in order to prove libel/slander in court, you have to prove malicious intent- i.e. that the person posting the alleged libel knew it to be false but posted it anyway in order to do harm to someone else. No one is going to go to that extreme to silence someone just for having an unpopular opinion. There is no slippery slope.

    That said, if you do use these comment threads to commit a crime (i.e. knowingly and intentionally libeling someone, making threats of violence against someone, etc.) I don't think you should be able to get off just because it's the Internet.

  • 3

    oikawa

    katsu78

    Right, but the point is that is the next step that leads from this question. People usually sued traditional media outlets, not individuals, like bloggers and tweeters. If we start sueing them, what's stopping you from sueing someone in your neighbourhood from spreading a deliberte untruth about you? Nothing, possibly, and maybe we'll see the rise of that too.

  • 0

    don-in-japan

    Spot on, oikawa.

    And quite obviously, if the same standards were applied in JT threads - there'd be quite a few commenters in hot water, and I'm not talking 'onsens'!

  • 0

    MarkG

    Are we now heading for censorship? Viewpoint and opinion suppressed. Sounds like a society of drones.

  • 0

    rainyday

    Im not sure about the specifics of libel law in Japan, but in the US and most other English speaking countries there isnt any distinction drawn between traditional media and bloggers, etc. Since all that is required to establish libel (and slander, but since libel is written while slander is spoken this topic seems to refer to the former) is that the offending comment be made to at least one other person - so obviously it would apply to any form of media that is made public.

    American law draws a distinction between public figures and non-public figures as the subject of a defamatory comment. With regard to the former the person suing has to prove there was maliscious intent behind the comment, with non public figures they do not have to prove this. This distinction is drawn mainly to protect free speech - the public has an interest in being able to speak freely about public figures (politicians, etc) so libel laws have been crafted to give greater protection to speech related to them. This, again, applies equally to regular media and bloggers, twitter, etc.

  • 0

    Moonraker

    katsu78. Perhaps you are not familiar with how libel laws are being used right now in the UK to quash dissent. The problem is exacerbated by the unequal access to the law based on money. The rich and powerful, including corporations, can start defamation proceedings to silence critics secure in the knowledge they can pay and that those who may be poorer but right cannot. The term "libel tourism" has been coined there because in a globalised media environment some people and organisations can take their cases to UK courts. It all partly depends on the burden of proof: Who has to prove who has been damaged? In the UK I would virtually only have to say I have been and it would be up to the the alleged libellers to prove I had not. Libel laws sound good in principle but they can be tweaked and interpreted based on the wishes of authority and this we have to consider.

  • 0

    It"S ME

    Those laws will need to respected as in the case of Germany where the major SNSpproviders agreed to remove all hate speech .

    So you will various implementing depending on local laws.

    First will be, after you will slandel, laws etc being enforced and not poster but sites ISP too.

    In short the real life will match the Net.

  • 0

    Fadamor

    I don't want to go too far off track but if you can sue someone for slander for what they blog or tweet, can you sue them for what they say, as in literally speak? Perhaps you can and its just a matter of proof, like a verbal contract being as valid as a written one, just much harder to prove.

    Slander is generally applied to spoken attacks. Libel is generally applied to published attacks.

  • 1

    bjohnson23

    A blog is blog and most people realize that you can't believe everything you hear unless you do your own research. So if people are that stupid to pay attention and believe everything they read in a blog, then shame on them. Not saying there is some truth in the blog post but do your own research. Once laws starts applying to blogs, then what is the point of a conversation as something there may be said that can be slanderous and held to subject of law i.e. office gossip or coffee break talk. Censorship needs to remain off the web, next it will be everywhere and then what. Think or be sheep ready for the slaughter house. Bad enough there is much government control in Japan and not silencing the people on the net is next? Enough is enough. Let the US enjoy the Patriot Act this is Japan.

  • 0

    wtfjapan

    there'd be quite a few commenters in hot water, and I'm not talking 'onsens'! lol and how would you even track down a so called slanderer who say uses in encrypted proxy server originating in say Russia / China etc. is JT going to block all traffic from those countries !? you start blocking sites / servers in another country you dont like youll start to getting retaliatory blocks from those countries governments. Which defeats the purpose of having the internet in the first place. the only way you can truely regulate what is posted on the internet is for all countries to mandate similar laws together, I dont see that happening anytime soon.

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