Defamation, Libel and Slander Laws in Cyprus

In the age of the internet and social media, concerns about defamation, libel and slander have grown significantly. In Cyprus, these issues are addressed through a combination of common law and statutory provisions. This article offers a detailed analysis of the legal framework governing defamation, libel and slander in Cyprus from a civil law perspective, while highlighting the services our law firm provides to protect and defend clients against such claims.

Understanding Defamation, Libel and Slander

Defamation refers to a false statement that harms the reputation of an individual, a company or a group. It is categorised into two forms: libel and slander.

  1. Libel: Libel involves written or printed defamation, including digital publications, pictures, or any other visual representation that can be proven false and damaging to the subject’s reputation.
  2. Slander: Slander pertains to spoken defamation, which could be in the form of oral statements, gestures, or other non-permanent forms of communication that cause harm to the subject’s reputation.

Relevant Laws and Regulations in Cyprus

In Cyprus, defamation, libel and slander are primarily governed by common law principles, supplemented by the Civil Wrongs Law, Cap. 148. This law outlines the civil remedies available to individuals who have suffered harm due to defamation, libel or slander, allowing for the filing of civil lawsuits and the recovery of damages for the harm caused.

Elements of Defamation, Libel and Slander

For a successful defamation claim in Cyprus, the following elements must be proven:

  1. False Statement: The statement must be proven false and not merely an opinion.
  2. Publication: The statement must be published, meaning it was communicated to at least one other person apart from the subject.
  3. Identification: The subject of the defamatory statement must be clearly identifiable.
  4. Harm to Reputation: The statement must cause harm to the subject’s reputation, either directly or indirectly.

In addition to these elements, claimants may need to establish malice or negligence, depending on the specific circumstances of the case.

Defences Against Defamation Claims

The following defences may be invoked in defamation cases in Cyprus:

  1. Truth: If the defendant can prove that the statement is true, it serves as a complete defence.
  2. Privilege: Certain situations and communications are protected by privilege, such as statements made in the course of legal proceedings or parliamentary debates. These are divided into absolute privilege and qualified privilege, depending on the context in which the statement was made.
  3. Fair Comment: Opinions made in good faith on matters of public interest can be protected under the fair comment defence. This defence requires that the comment is based on true facts, is a matter of public interest, and is expressed as an opinion rather than a statement of fact.

Remedies and Damages

In Cyprus, a successful defamation claim can result in various remedies, including:

  1. General Damages: Compensation for the harm caused to the claimant’s reputation, as well as any emotional distress or suffering.
  2. Special Damages: Compensation for specific financial losses resulting from the defamation, such as loss of business or employment opportunities.
  3. Injunctions: Court orders preventing the defendant from continuing to publish or disseminate the defamatory material.

Services Offered by Our Law Firm

Our law firm provides a comprehensive range of services related to defamation, libel and slander in Cyprus, including:

  1. Legal Advice: We offer expert guidance on matters concerning defamation, libel and slander, helping clients understand their rights and obligations.
  2. Representation: We represent clients in both initiating and defending against defamation claims, ensuring that their interests are protected throughout the legal process.
  3. Cease and Desist Letters: We assist clients in drafting and sending cease and desist letters to halt defamatory statements and prevent further damage to their reputation.
  4. Mediation and Negotiation: Our team is skilled in negotiating settlements to resolve disputes efficiently and amicably, without the need for lengthy court proceedings. We work with both parties to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution, often involving retractions, apologies, or monetary compensation.
  5. Online Reputation Management: We help clients address defamatory content published on the internet, working with online platforms to request removal of such content and advising on strategies to rebuild and maintain a positive online reputation.

Defamation, libel and slander are complex legal issues that can have significant consequences for both the claimant and defendant in Cyprus. Our law firm is committed to providing comprehensive legal support and representation for clients navigating these challenges. By understanding the intricacies of the legal framework and leveraging our expertise, we aim to protect our clients’ reputations and achieve favourable outcomes in defamation-related disputes.