You can be sued for retweeting alleged sexual assault claims on social media

The recent spate of femicide cases in South Africa has sparked social media users to name and shame their alleged offenders online.

RELATED: You can be sued for naming and shaming alleged rapists on Twitter

Is it right to name and shame alleged perpetrators of sexual offences anonymously without concrete evidence - and should these posts be retweeted?

Where does the law stand in naming and shaming alleged perpetrators on social media?

RELATED: Naming alleged sexual offenders on social media anonymously...is it legal?

Eusebius McKaiser speaks to Ampofo-Anti Consulting media law specialist and partner Okyerebea Ampofo-Anti to weigh in on the matter.

If I go on Twitter right now and I name someone as the person that raped me, what does the law have to say about something like that?

Eusebius McKaiser, Presenter

Ampofo-Anti says society needs to understand that the law online is the same as the law in real life. And in this case, the law of defamation would apply.

The law of defamation says that if you put out a statement about somebody which would result in other people thinking less of that person, their reputation being harmed by that statement, then you are potentially liable.

Okyerebea Ampofo-Anti, Media law specialist and partner - Ampofo-Anti Consulting

If you go on Twitter and say so and so assaulted me, obviously, people will think less of that person, their reputation will be harmed and therefore there is a potential defamation claim that you are exposing yourself to.

Okyerebea Ampofo-Anti, Media law specialist and partner - Ampofo-Anti Consulting

She adds that when it comes to a defamation claim, truth and public interest, as well as fair comment, apply.

If in your defence can prove that what you said is the truth and it is of public interest, then you can use that defence. However, it is difficult to prove truth in a court of law compared to the court of public opinion.

Okyerebea Ampofo-Anti, Media law specialist and partner - Ampofo-Anti Consulting

She says a person who retweets the sexual assault claims can also be held accountable for a defamation claim.

In defamation law, we have what we call a repetition rule, which means if you repeat a defamatory statement, then you are equally liable.

Okyerebea Ampofo-Anti, Media law specialist and partner - Ampofo-Anti Consulting

Listen below to the full conversation:


Recommended

by NEWSROOM AI
Read More
I feel for that family waiting for news on their missing boy - Eusebius

I feel for that family waiting for news on their missing boy - Eusebius

Listener Meghan says teambuilding places need to look at the safety and security of the kids.

Is the South African video gaming industry transformed? Game developers weigh in

Is the South African video gaming industry transformed? Game developers weigh in

Eusebius McKaiser facilitates a conversation pundits and shines the spotlight on gaming in the country.

What are the implications of a ruling on the dissolution of Makhanda council?

What are the implications of a ruling on the dissolution of Makhanda council?

Eusebius McKaiser speaks to the Unemployed People's Movement's Ayanda Kota.

Pundits discuss whether SA economy can recover in 2020

Pundits discuss whether SA economy can recover in 2020

Eusebius McKaiser shines the spotlight on the country's GDP.

You can be sued for naming and shaming alleged rapists on Twitter

You can be sued for naming and shaming alleged rapists on Twitter

Media Monitoring director Willam Bird says even if you retweet you can be charged with crimen injuria.

Naming alleged sexual offenders on social media anonymously...is it legal?

Naming alleged sexual offenders on social media anonymously...is it legal?

Ditshego Media CEO and social media expect Tebogo Ditshego gives insight on perpetrators names being shared online.

Popular articles
How to buy your first share (even if you only have R50, or less)

How to buy your first share (even if you only have R50, or less)

Got R50? No? Got R5? Personal finance expert Warren Ingram on how to buy shares with tiny amounts of money.