The Award and assessment of Damages in Defamation cases: a Zambian Legal perspective
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this essay considers the current position of the law of defamation in Zambia. The paper considers the fact the courts in Zambia mostly rely on common law when it comes to the law of defamation as the statute which regulates defamation is not very comprehensive. It is an attempt to establish whether the courts in Zambia have appreciated the core principles underlying the law if defamation. It is very evident from the Zambian jurisprudence that the courts have appreciated tie core principles underlying the law of defamation. The research revealed that despite the fact that the courts have appreciated the principles underpinning the law of defamation the defamation act is not comprehensive. It is therefore recommended that the Act should be viewed to make it more comprehensive. Additionally, the courts may be faced with some difficulties when the law of defamation comes into conflict with the right to freedom of expression bearing in mind that the Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of expression. In this instance, the courts have a duty of balancing the interest of an individual on the one hand to express him or herself freely and the interest of the other individual not to have their reputation ruined. It is argued that the court should not give unnecessary weight to any of the two conflicting interests. In other words, the ourt has to treat the two interests with equal importance. In trying to balance the two interests, le Zambian courts have held that the right to freedom of expression is not absolute. This ^search has revealed that if in the course of exercising your right to freedom of expression you injure someone's reputation, then liability will arise. This is because freedom of expression is not synonymous with the right to defame others.However, the paper also revealed that the Zambian courts tend to favour the view that it is only exceptional circumstances that public interest immunity will be claimed as regards public figures. However, it is recommended that in the interest of making those who hold public offices accountable, public interest immunity claims should only fail if the publisher had malice when e published the article. It is light of this fact that the paper examines the current position of the law of defamation in Zambia with a view of improving the situation.
- Law