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    Module 7: Defamation and Reputation

    Modules on Litigating Digital Rights in Europe

    Defamation is a notorious tactic used to suppress freedom of expression, notably affecting journalists. While defamation laws intend to safeguard individuals from public statements that could tarnish their reputation or dignity, they frequently clash with the right to free expression entrenched in multiple international and domestic legal frameworks. It is, thus, important that a balance is struck between safeguarding fundamental rights and shielding individuals from detrimental statements in terms of legitimate defamation claims.

    Europe has witnessed a surge in online defamation cases in recent years due to the ease of posting content on social media platforms and the internet, often without the same level of scrutiny applied in traditional media. Coupled with a lack of comprehensive legislative frameworks addressing online defamation in many countries, this has led to an increase in defamation cases and a degree of uncertainty in applying defamation laws to the online realm.

    Navigating online defamation cases poses unique challenges. The internet, lacking clear internationally recognised boundaries, complicates the identification of perpetrators. Moreover, determining the jurisdiction to adjudicate the matter becomes intricate as messages can originate from diverse global locations, involving parties scattered across different jurisdictions.

    This module examines defamation laws in Europe and explores recent jurisprudence in which courts strive to strike a balance between conflicting rights. Additionally, it delves into emerging trends and examples specific to Europe, showcasing the evolving landscape of defamation law in the digital era.