《1957年诽谤法令》

英文:Defamation Act 1957    ‖  下载PDF档  ‖
马来文:Akta Fitnah 1957

一、何为诽谤?

(一)以下情况可构成诽谤:

1. 对某个人产生破坏作用的指责。
2. 导致这个人被人厌恶、歧视或被视为愚蠢。
3. 结果造成这个人被社会排斥。
4. 结果造成这个人在职业、生意或专业上的名誉受损。
5. 以一般有正常思想的人的想法为准。
6. 无须证明名誉真正受损,只要某种指责具有诽谤倾向即可。

(二)诽谤可分为两种形式:

· Libel(以文字损害名誉)-是一种永久形式的诽谤,是一种民事侵权行为(tort),在某情况底下甚至是一种刑事罪。Libel本身就是可以提起诉讼的(actionable),不需要证明损害或财务损失,只要答辩人的言论具有诽谤倾向即可提出告诉。

》 诽谤性传播包括:书籍、报纸、图画、绘画、卡通、电影、雕像、符号、肖像及其他视觉影像(visual images)(属于眼睛可以看到的)。

》 广播内容也是属于永久性出版物(permanent publication),第3条款(s.3)有明文说明这点:

For the purpose of the law of libel and slander the broadcasting of words by means of radiocommunication shall be treated as publication in a permanent form.

·  Slander(中伤)-非永久形式的诽谤。在英国,slander不当做刑事案处理,但是在马来西亚,slander有可能被视为《刑事法典》499条款的刑事罪行(Section 499, Penal Code)。

》  针对slander案提出民事诉讼,必须要能证明有特别的损害(special damage),除了某些情况例外,例如某人说某个女人通奸、卖淫。

》 有三种类型的slander:

1. 中伤女性(slander of women)-第4条款(S.4):

“Words spoken and published which impute unchastity or adultery to any woman or girl shall not require special damage to render them actionable.”

2. 中伤公务、专业或商业信誉(slander of affecting official, professional or business reputation) -第5条款(s. 5):

“In an action for slander in respect of words calculated to disparage the plaintiff in any office, profession, calling, trade or business held or carried on by him at the time of the publication, it shall not be necessary to allege or prove special damage whether or not the words are spoken of the plaintiff in the way of his office, profession, calling, trade or business.”

3. 诋毁物权(slander of title) - 第6条款(s. 6):

“在任何slander of title、slander of goods或其他malicious falsehood案件中,无需提出或证明特别损害(special damage):

(a) if the words upon which the action is founded are calculated to cause pecuniary damage to the plaintiff and are published in writing or other permanent form; or

(b) if the said words are calculated to cause pecuniary damage to the plaintiff in respect of any office, profession, calling, trade or business held or carried on by him at the time of the publication.”

二、诽谤的本质

1. 该出版物或言论是错误的(The publication or statement is false)-确实的言论不能构成诽谤罪。

2. 某言论或材料在社会成员的正常想法或合理估计中,具有贬低原告的倾向。

• 诉方无需证明的确具有此效果。(而且,辩方不能以接受讯息的人并不相信他的话为理由,为自己辩护。在诽谤案中,这个论点是无关宏旨的,诉方仍享有起诉权。)

• 在决定一种言论或材料是否构成诽谤时,法院是根据材料的整体性判断。一篇文章的标题、内容、句子、发表的形式等等,都可以用来判断这篇文章是否构成诽谤。

• 举证的责任(onus of proof)属于诉方,诉方得证明某篇文章具有诽谤归责(libellous imputation)。这种归责可以几种方式出现:

(a)  The words are defamatory in their natural and ordinary meaning. The natural and ordinary meaning include the literal meaning of the words in question and the ordinary inferences which the ordinary person would make from them.

 (b) Words can also be defamatory by virtue of a special meaning understood by people having knowledge of particular extrinsic facts. This is referred to as a legal innuendo.

 (c) Defamation can be committed by way of juxtaposition. For example effigies may be created or the Plaintiff’s photograph may be printed alongside pictures of wanted criminals or his statue may be placed next to statues of criminals.

(In suits for defamation, it is not enough to prove that the words were hurtful, insulting, abusive or vulgar. However, if vulgar or obscene words are used against a woman, there may be a possibility of a criminal action for outraging her modesty.)

3. A reasonable man or a right thinking member of society should regard the words as defamatory. The words should have a tendency to lower the Plaintiff and discredit him in the estimation of right thinking members of society.

4. There must be intention ‘to publish’ that is to disseminate the ideas. If the words were published without the authority of defendant, for example if a personal diary was stolen and published there is no defamation.

虽然法律强调发表的“意图”(intention),不过,有没有诽谤的意图却不是辩护的理由。你不能说,我只是转述别人所说的话(每一次的重复都可以构成新的起诉原因[cause of action]。)

你也不能说,你并无意图或动机(motive)针对起诉人,或者说,你话中所指的对象是另有其人而非案中的起诉人。如果起诉人能够证明,按照别人合理的了解,认为你所说的话是针对起诉人,就可构成诽谤。

5. The words must refer to the plaintiff directly or indirectly through an innuendo.

当有人说“讲师都讲大话”,任何讲师都无权起诉讲这句话的人,除非话中有明确影射某个对象,例如“新纪元学院那个来自S州的讲师是骗子”,而当时学院里只有一个讲师来自S州,这个讲师就有权起诉,因为对象明显。

报章广告:“谨此通告各界人士,XXX已经离职,他已经无权代表本公司鸠收帐目。”这一广告明显是诽谤,因为它非难(imputation)此人仍然在未经授权的情况下到处收帐。

一家巧克力公司在未经许可的情况下,以素描的方式将一个业余高尔夫球手的肖像用来打广告,结果这个业余高尔夫球手起诉巧克力公司,因为这个广告带有如此含意:这个高尔夫球手收取广告费,进而导致他做为一个业余高尔夫球手的名誉受损。(Innuendo)

6. There must be publication by the defendant to some third person.

答辩人只是对着起诉人说出诽谤性的指责,不能构成诽谤。答辩人对配偶说的话不视为与第三者的沟通。

三、谁可以提出诽谤诉讼?

1. 诽谤是属于私人过失(personal wrong),因此被诽谤者享有起诉权;但是被诽谤者如果逝世了,起诉权将随着他的逝世而消失。易言之:被诽谤者的家属不可能代表死者提出诉讼,除非他们本身在这起诽谤案中也遭到诽谤。

2.  不只是个人享有起诉权,法人(legal persons),例如:公司、机构、社团也可以本身的名号提出诉讼。

四、保护措施(Safeguard)

1. 无意识的诽谤(Unintentional Defamation)

》 如果A在无恶意(innocently)的情况下发表了对B含有诽谤性的字眼,而A提出愿意更正献议,并且获得B接受,B就不应对A提出诉讼,或继续进行诉讼(s.7[1][a])。

》 如果B不接受更正献议,则A必须抗辩,以证明他并无恶意,而且已经尽快做出更正献议(s.7[1][b])。

2. 证明正当(Justification)

     》 答辩人所言是事实,例如:当A说B曾贪污,而B的确曾经因贪污罪被法院判刑,则A的言论不构成诽谤。

》  要证明确实无讹,除了言论确实无讹之外,也要证明隐义(innuendo)也是确实无讹。

3. 中肯的评论(Fair Comment)

》 诽谤法令说明,中肯的评论必须是关系公共利益,而且只是发表意见(opinion),而非论据(facts),但是必须中肯(是否中肯得由法院裁决)。

4. 道歉以减轻损害(Apology inmitigation of damages)

》 在诉方入禀法院之前公开道歉,如果诉方接受道歉,一般上是接受一笔赔偿金及公开道歉(例如在报章刊登道歉启事)。

》 如果诉方不接受道歉,在审讯时,辩方可以以已经公开道歉为理由,要求减低赔偿金。

五、报纸享有之合法特权(Qualified privilege of newspapers)

 s.11-报章报道法院的司法程序(judicial proceedings),并且做合理且善意(bona fide)的评论,报章不应被索取诽谤赔偿。

 不过,报道必须是合理及正确的,才能获得全面的保护;错误的报道不享有此权利。

 S.12-规定报章报道某些事件享有特权(privileged),这是根据Schedule之Part I与Part II所列明之情况(不含恶意)。

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