Often called as slander, an oral defamation is a malicious act of dispersing untrue statements about a person or something else. If this act is performed intentionally to cause harm or automatically it creates harm to the person then defamation becomes powerful in the court of Law. It differs from the written or recorded defamation which is commonly referred as aslibel. Sometimes, the statements made orally can even be made in written forms if they are temporary, for example, writing a defamatory note on a scrap of paper that can be discarded later.
There is little confusion in explaining the definition of both separate words – libel and slander. Libel can be oral, but if it is used in spoken way then it has to be spoken in some permanent or recorded form. An example will be the television broadcast. An oral defamation is similar to malicious gossip. Very commonly used is a person spreading untrue story about someone which hurts or causes harm. The culprit could repeat this story more than one time or can address to a group of people or communicate the story to one at a time. In short, more people hear this story, more the damage causes.
It is difficult to prove the type of statements for defamation. A person repeating to a friend that a particular restaurant is not clean doesn’t mean that it is an oral defamation. One example of defamation would be a more clearly defined libel where discussions are made about coworkers, impugning their reputation. This means spreading rumor that a coworker has traded sexual favors which obviously is a damaging and serious matter for that worker’s career. Even if the oral defamation is not recorded, rumors have it that the story often remains for longer duration and continues spreading. It can even turn to libel as people often use internet and other media to spread rumors. If a person is charged with libel, he would face different defenses and can state the oral defamation as unintentional. This is possible as he could say that he thought the statement was true. He gets options to argue like saying there was no intent of causing harm to the person through such statements.
Types of charges in oral defamation vary as per the perceived damages. Charges could be civil or criminal. There are many who come with their cases in civil courts and don’t face any criminal charges. This is possible when libel does not cause any physical damage.