Defamation and the High Cost of False Online Opinions

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The surge in social media usage has undeniably led to more defamation cases in recent times. Many people believe they can remain anonymous and unaccountable online, leading them to freely express opinions and grievances without considering the legal repercussions. Take, for instance, the recent legal actions involving Bonang Matheba and Rea Gopane in South Africa. Matheba successfully sued Gopane for online defamation, resulting in Gopane being ordered to pay R300,000 in damages. Similarly, author Jackie Phamotse was recently convicted of defamation crimen injuria involving false statements she made online about Basetsana and Romeo Khumalo. These cases highlight the growing issue of online defamation. In this conversation, we aim to explore how defamation not only impacts one's credibility but also their ability to pursue business ventures, as individuals often fail to consider the truthfulness of their statements and the potential damages they may cause in the name of “freedom of expression”. Social Media Legal Analyst Lerato Ntwampe joins Lerato Mbele for the conversation.

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