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Draft Law on Civil Liability for Insult and Defamation

Draft Law on Civil Liability for Insult and Defamation

Liability for insult according to the Draft Law on Civil Liability for Insult and Defamation

The Law on Civil Liability for Insult and Defamation adopted in 2012, for the first time in the Macedonian legislation, decriminalized the defamation and insult. From the adoption until today, the Law showed weaknesses in its practical implementation, that caused the need for adoption of a new one. The Government filed the Draft Law on Civil Liability for Insult and Defamation to Macedonian Assembly, and it is still in a law-making procedure.

One of the key reforms of this Draft Law is Article 6, especially in the part that primarily refers to the identification of the parties in court proceedings. Namely, the general rule is that the one who, with the intention to disparage, with a statement, behavior, publication or in another way expresses with established or obvious identity for other a defamatory or degrading opinion, which violates his honor and reputation, is liable for an insult. The Liability for insult also exists if such an action demeans the reputation and honor of a group of persons, a deceased person or a legal entity.  

Furthermore, the Draft Law contains a special rule for insult committed through the media. In this case, if the insult is committed through the media on which the content is published in a way accessible to the public, the author, the editor, or the person replacing him and the legal entity as a publisher may be liable for the insult. If the media does not have an editor or a person to replacing him, the natural person or legal entity that owns the media is liable. In these cases, when filing the lawsuit, the plaintiff, is free to decide against which of the above-mentioned persons he will file a lawsuit.

Finally, the Draft Law regulates the responsibility of the journalists. Namely, in this case, the Draft Law envisages presumed responsibility, i.e., committed by a journalist, the editor or the person who is replacing him in the media and the legal entity that publishes the media are responsible for an insult. 

The journalist as an author is not liable for insult if he proves that the publication was ordered by the publisher against the law, the editor or the person replacing him or the content of his statement is significantly changed by the editor or the person replacing him. 

The journalist as an author is not liable if the presentation or transmission of factual allegations became an insult by equipping it with headlines, subtitles, photographs, excerpts, announcements or otherwise, by the editor or the person replacing him.