North Cyprus Law | TRNC Civil Law Definition of Defamation

Qu. What is the definition of Defamation in the TRNC Civil Law? What are the defences and there conditions in the TRNC courts?

Below I have put down the rules applicable in the TRNC regarding defamation and its special defences. As you shall see from below, defamation cases usually are very complicated and are very similar to the rules in the UK. One of the major differences between the TRNC and the UK system or rules regarding this subject is that, in the TRNC, it is for the judge to decide whether or not the written or verbal statement constitutes defamation (libel and slander), whereas in the UK, it would be a task for the jury. The reason for this, is that the TRNC doesn’t have a jury system. I hope that I have answered many question on the subject with what I have taken from the law and have written below.

According to the Law in the TRNC, defamation (libel and slander) consists of the publication by any person by means of print, writing, painting, effigy, gestures, spoken words or other sounds, or by any other means whatsoever, including broadcasting by wireless telegraphy, of any matter which;

a) Imputes to any other person a crime (crime here means any offence or other act punishable under any enactment in force in the TRNC and any act wheresoever’s committed, which, if committed in the TRNC, would be punishable therein); or

b) Imputes to any other person misconduct in any public office; or

c) NATURALLY TENDS TO INJURE OR PREJUDICE THE REPUTATION OF ANY OTHER PERSON IN THE WAY OF HIS PROFESSION, TRADE, BUSINESS, CALLING OR OFFICE; OR

d) İs likely to expose any other person to general hatred, contempt or ridicule; or

e) İs likely to cause any other person to be shunned or avoided by other persons.

A person is not less answerable for a defamatory statement by reason only that s/he;

a) Makes it by way of repetition or hearsay; or

b) Gives at the time or afterwards the authority on which he makes the statement; or

c) Subject to provisions in the law and/or the provisions given below believes the statement to be true; or

d) Did not intend in fact to make or publish it of and concerning the plaintiff; or

e) Subject to other provisions stated in the law, was unaware of the existence of the plaintiff.

Provided that the TRNC Court may take such or like circumstances into account in awarding compensation.

An action for defamation by gestures, spoken words or other sounds, other than broadcasting by wireless telegraphy, shall lie without proof of special damage except where gestures, spoken words or other sounds;

a) İmpute a crime for which the plaintiff may be made to suffer corporal punishment or imprisonment in the first instance;

b) Are calculated to injure or prejudice the reputation of the plaintiff in the way of his profession, trade, business, calling or office;

c) Impute to the plaintiff a contagious or infectious disease;

d) Impute adultery or unchastely to a women or girl.

It is not necessary for defamation that a defamatory meaning should be directly or completely expressed; and it suffices if such meaning, and its application to the person alleged to be defamed, can be collected either from the alleged defamatory statement itself or from any extrinsic circumstances, or partly by the one and partly by the other means.

In an action for defamation it shall be a special defence;

a) THAT THE MATTER OF WHICH COMPLAINT WAS MADE WAS TRUE (Justification):

Provided that where the defamatory matter contains two or more distinct charges against the plaintiff, a defence under this paragraph shall not fail by reason only that the truth of every charge is not proved, if the defamatory matter not proved to be true does not materially injure the plaintiff’s reputation having regard to the truth of the remaining charges.

b) THAT THE MATTER OF WHICH COMPLAINT WAS MADE WAS A FAIR COMMENT ON SOME MATTER OF PUBLIC INTEREST:

Provided that where the defamatory matter consists partly of allegation of fact and partly of expression of opinion, a defence of fair comment shall not fail by reason only that the truth of every allegation of fact is not proved if the expression of opinion is a fair comment having regard to such of facts alleged or referred to in the defamatory matter complained of as are proved:

Provided further that a defence under this paragraph shall not succeed if the plaintiff proves that the publication was not made in good faith within the meaning stated below.

c) That the publication of the defamatory matter WAS PRIVILEGED under the law; (Which I might write about in the future)

d) That the defamation was unintentional unlawful. (Which I might write about in the future)

‘’The publication of defamatory matter shall not be deemed to have been made in good faith by a person, within the meaning of subsection (1) of this section, if it is made to appear either –

(a) that the matter was untrue, and that he/she did not believe it to be true; or

(b) that the matter was untrue, and that he published it without having taken reasonable care to ascertain whether it was true or false; or

(c) that, in publishing the matter, he/she acted with intent to injure the person defamed in a substantially greater degree or substantially otherwise that was reasonably necessary for the interest of the private right or interest in respect of which he claims to be privileged.”

As you can see from the above for a comment to be fair, it must meet the following conditions;

(a) It must be based on facts contained in or referred to in the publication complained of.

(b) The facts must be sufficiently true to make the comment fair.

(c) If the comment contains an imputation of corrupt of dishonest motives, or perhaps any inference of fact, the comment must be shown to be justifiable.

(d) The comment be such as fairly to be described as criticism.

(e) The comment must represent the honest opinion of the commentator, and be published without malice.

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