A1 Journal article – refereed

Criminal Defamation Put to the Test: A Law and Economics Perspective

List of Authors: Phiri Christopher

Publisher: University of Baltimore, School of Law

Publication year: 2021

Journal: Journal of media law & ethics

Volume number: 9

Issue number: 1

ISSN: 1940-9370

eISSN: 1940-9389

URL: http://law.ubalt.edu/academics/publications/medialaw/JMLEissues.cfm

Should defamation be decriminalized? If so, why? These policy questions have been a subject of extensive scholarly and political discourse for decades. On their part, key stakeholders such as human rights organizations, press freedom groups and media organizations at both national and international level have virtually been unanimous in their calls for the decriminalization of defamation. Whilst acknowledging the need to protect the fundamental right to reputation, their argument is that criminal defamation is a disproportionate restriction on freedom of expression in general and freedom of the media in particular. They accordingly advocate for civil defamation to the exclusion of criminal defamation. The proponents of criminal defamation on the other hand believe that criminal defamation laws are needed to ensure the protection of the right to reputation. As the debate lingers on, this article restates the case for the decriminalization of defamation by drawing on law and economics scholarship. The article argues that criminal defamation is a policy mistake which cannot be justified in terms of the property-liability rules framework.

Last updated on 2021-24-09 at 16:00