What can I do if they defame me?
What can I do if they defame me?
Currently, with technological advances, social networks are a very effective support for the appearance of comments that are harmful to honor, since the anonymity offered by these platforms allows free expression that, on many occasions, ends up becoming a legal process.
The crimes of defamation, which threaten the public image of a person, are regulated in the Penal Code from articles 205 to 216.
But what exactly does each term capture?
To know what to do in the case of being a victim of defamation, we must know what this term includes. There are two types of defamation: libel and slander.
In the first place, it is established that slander deals with the imputation of a crime made with knowledge of its falsehood. For example, the crime of slander is incurred when a person is accused of stealing knowing that it was not him.
Thus, for its part, an insult is an action or expression that may violate the dignity of a person in such a way that their fame or self-esteem is harmed. The injury is based on a value judgment, but a crime is only committed if it is produced through malicious conduct when the perpetrator knows that he is going to cause damage with his action. Defamation Of Character
Freedom of expression and defamation
The Internet facilitates freedom of expression, but it has some limitations. Freedom of expression allows criticism and this right is included in the Spanish Constitution in article 20.1.
Right to honor and freedom of expression are rights of equal rank, limiting each other. However, the Constitutional Court gives greater precedence to the right to freedom of information and expression over the right to honor.
It must be taken into account that freedom of expression does not give the right to harm the honor of people, so the limit between these rights must be resolved by a judge depending on the case.
Steps to follow in the event of a defamation
At the moment in which a person defames another, the affected individual must first collect all possible evidence. Thus, it is recommended that you collect witness statements, and copies of messages in the event that the defamation has occurred through social networks, WhatsApp, etc. To comply with this step, it is optimal to resort to a notary and to carry out a notarial deed in which it is established that all the evidence is real and has not been manipulated.
In the event that the defamation is through social networks, the author of the comment should be contacted, as well as the social network. In this way, the slanderer is warned that the comment has been annoying and, if it is repeated again, it will be clear that their objective is to harm. These platforms have their own addresses where you can report cases of libel or slander along with abuse or harassment.
But in view of the legal process to start, from the hand of a specialist in the matter, it will be convenient to establish whether the case can be accommodated within the framework of LO 1/1982, on civil protection of the right to honor, or on the other hand, has a legal reserve in the articles of the Penal Code as a crime of insults and/or slander. On this point, prior to going to the police or Civil Guard, it is necessary to obtain proper advice on the pain of initiating an erroneous legal process and paying the consequences of it.
In this way, once the case has been analyzed, the corresponding Complaint will be filed before the competent Investigating Court, or, the corresponding claim will be filed before the competent Civil Court, depending on the specific circumstances of the case.
It is increasingly difficult to recognize situations in which honor is violated. For this reason, at AVERUM Abogados we put at your service our more than 35 years of experience and a specialized team to help you.