Difference WikiGeneral

Difference Between Libel and Slander

Main Difference

The main difference between Libel and Slander is that Libel is in writing a defamatory record or statement, whereas Slander is the verbal defamatory record or statement.

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Libel vs. Slander

Libel is a kind of defamatory statements in the written form. Slander is a defamatory statement in the oral form. Libel is the act of spoiling someone’s reputation by written, published, or broadcast negative statements; on the other hand, slander refers to the act of hurting one’s reputation by making oral or spoken statements. Defamation in printed words or pictures is known as libel. Defamation in spoken words or gestures is known as slander.

Libel is tangible as it is printed, in written forms, or the form of pictures. Slander is intangible because it is in the spoken form or in the form of gestures. It can also be said that libel is nonverbal defamation, whereas slander is verbal defamation. The examples of libel are statements written in newspapers, magazines, and blogs. The examples of slander are in-person interactions, e.g., standing inside a company and discrediting anyone of its employee by shouting false accusations.

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It is easy to prove libel in court because it is in written form. It is hard to prove slander as it has no form but some words that were being said. The limitation for libel is six years. The limitation of slander is two years. Statements made online, or on TV or radio falls into the category of libel because it covers a larger audience and causes great defamation to the targeted person.

Comparison Chart

LibelSlander
An act of spoiling someone’s reputation my by written, published, or broadcast negative statementsAn act of hurting one’s reputation by making oral or spoken statements
Form
WrittenOral
Limitation
Six yearsTwo years
Kind of Defamation
NonverbalVerbal
To Prove
EasyHard
Examples
Statements are written in newspapers, magazines, and blogs, statements aired on radio or TvIn-person interactions, e.g., standing inside a company and discrediting anyone of its employee by shouting false accusations
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What is Libel?

Libel is known as a type of defamation. Libel is the defamation that is printed or written forms or in the form of pictures. It is considered illegal, and people making such statements are accountable in civil or criminal suits in the state courts. The First Amendment protections of free speech in the US limits the defamation suits. Libel refers to written or published defamation. The statement in newspapers, magazines, and blogs falls into the category of libel. The statements that are made online are considered libel. Moreover, the defamation made on TV or radio is also known as libel. Libel can be of small or large scale publications.

Any statement that targets to ridicule someone, spread hatred, or contempt others is considered as libel. It can not just be about a person but also an entity, e.g., newspaper, magazine, product, company, political organization, etc. However, in a lawsuit, the victim is given a chance to prove the statement about him/her as untrue or lie. The assurity of the statement to be untrue is required in the court, and the intentions of the person who made a defamatory statement must be proved malicious. To prove libel is easy than proving slander because it is in published form, and the act of publication itself is considered as an act to injure the other person.

Types of Damages by Libel

  • General Damages: loss of reputation, shame, hurt feelings
  • Special Damages: damage to property, trade, profession or occupation
  • Punitive Damages: intend to punish the defendant

What is Slander?

Slander can be a false statement about someone that has the potential to harm his/her reputation, e.g., an accusation of having committed a crime, having a loathsome disease, etc. Defamation is the false statement or statements that intend to harm the reputation of a person or group, business, product, government, religion, or the entire nation. Opinions do not fall into the category of defamation. For example, calling someone a murderer if he was not convicted of murder is slander. However, calling someone stupid or idiot is not a slander. There are also laws and legal penalties for libel and slander. In civil suits, the defendant pays monetary damages to the guilty person.

Slander is the oral or spoken defamation stating an untruth about a person, organization, product, and the like. Slanders are hard to specify and to prove. Although slander is the oral defamation, the words spoken over TV or radio are libel, not slander, because broadcasting reaches a broader audience. In most cases, the court considers something slander if it causes actual and proven damage to someone. In the example given below, it will not be considered slander if the restaurant doesn’t lose any money, and diners keep on coming and eating there.

Examples

  • In-person interactions
  • Standing inside a company and discrediting any of its employees by shouting false accusations

Key Differences

  1. Defamation in printed words or pictures is known as libel; in contrast, defamation in spoken words or gestures is known as slander.
  2. Libel is a kind of defamatory statement in the written form, whereas slander is a defamatory statement in the oral form.
  3. The limitation for libel is six years; on the other hand, the limitation for slander is two years.
  4. Libel is the act of spoiling someone’s reputation by written, published, or broadcast negative statements; on the flip side, slander refers to the act of hurting one’s reputation by making oral or spoken statements.
  5. Libel is tangible; contrarily slander is intangible.
  6. It is easy to prove libel in court because it is in written form; on the other side, it is hard to prove slander as it has no form but some words that were being said.
  7. Libel is nonverbal defamation; inversely, slander is verbal defamation.

Comparison Video

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Conclusion

Libel and Slander are the two terms referring to the types of defamation. Both terms are a little bit different relative to the other. Libel is oral defamation, while Slander is written.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson