The basis for the existence of the legal institution of defamation is the need to protect the honor and reputation of the subjects.
Аccording to the law “the person responsible for defamation is someone who, with the intention of harming his/her honor and reputation, presents or conveys untrue facts that are harmful to his/her honor and reputation to a third party, and he knows or was obliged to know that they are untrue”.
Liability for defamation also exists if the untrue statement contains facts harmful to the reputation of a legal entity, a group of persons or a deceased person.
If the statement or transmission of false statements is made through a medium of public information the author of the statement, the editor or the person who replaces him and the legal entity can be held liable for defamation. When filing the lawsuit, the plaintiff is free to decide against which of the persons he will file a lawsuit for determining liability and compensation for defamation.
The defendant is obliged to prove the truth of the facts contained in the claim.
The defendant who proves the truth of his claim or proves that he had a reasonable reason to believe in its truth will not be liable for defamation.
As an exception, the plaintiff who is public figure has a legal duty to provide an explanation of the specific facts that are most directly related or are of importance to the of his function, if the defendant proves that he had valid reasons for making claim which is of public interest.
It is not allowed to prove the truth of facts that refer to the plaintiff’s private life, except in cases precisely defined by law.
In addition to the above, responsibility is also excluded for presenting facts harmful to the honor and reputation of another, that are given in a scientific, literary or artistic work, in serious criticism, in the performance of an official duty, journalistic profession, political or other social activity, in defense of freedom of public expression of thought or other rights or in the protection of public interest or other justified interests, in cases precisely determined by law.
The compensation for defamation should be proportional to the damage caused and to include the non-material damage caused to the honor and reputation of the injured party as well as proven material damage and lost profit.
In order to reduce damage, the defendant can prove that he apologized, offered an apology, or otherwise made a serious attempt to remove the harmful consequences of the defamation.
The deadline for filing a lawsuit for defamation is three months from the day the plaintiff learned or should have learned about the defamatory statement and about the identity of the person who caused the damage, but no later than one year from the day the statement was made to third parties.
The procedure for determine liability for defamation and compensation for damage is urgent and the injured party can also file a request for the determination of a temporary measure consisting in the prohibition of further publication of defamatory statements.