Defamation is the act of communicating to a third party false statements about a person, place, or thing that results in damage to its reputation. It can be spoken (slander) or written (libel). It constitutes a tort or a crime. The legal definition of defamation and related acts, as well as the ways they are dealt with, can vary greatly between countries and jurisdictions (what exactly they must consist of, whether they constitute crimes or not, and to what extent proving the alleged facts is a valid defense)
Defamation—also libel, slander, and traducement—is the communication of a false statement that harms the reputation of an individual person, business, product, group, government, religion, or nation, as well as other various kinds of defamation that retaliate against groundless criticism. Under common law, a claim must generally be false and made to someone other than the person defamed to constitute defamation. Some common law jurisdictions also distinguish between spoken defamation, slander, and defamation in other media, such as printed words or images, called libel. False light laws protect against statements that are not technically false but misleading. In some civil law jurisdictions, defamation is treated as a crime rather than a civil wrong. The United Nations Commission on Human Rights ruled in 2012 that the criminalization of libel violates freedom of expression and is inconsistent with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. A person who defames another may be called a “defamer”, “famacide”, “libeler” or “slanderer”.