Have you been the victim of cyber-libel? Cyber-libel is a term used when someone has posted or e-mailed a statement that is untrue and damaging relating to another individual on the Internet, including in message boards, bulletin boards, blogs, chat rooms, personal websites, social media, social networking sites, or other published articles. If you live in the Okanagan and this happens to you, you may have legal avenues available to seek compensation and justice. Let’s look at why cyber-libel is an issue and what your rights are if it happens to you.

The Impact of Cyber-Libel

When someone posts something false about another person on the internet it can cause serious damage to that person’s reputation. This kind of defamation—known as libel when published—can be especially damaging when it comes from a trusted source. It can be difficult for victims of cyber-libel to prove their case as they cannot always track down who posted the slanderous statement or comment online. In addition to reputational damage, there are other potential consequences such as loss of employment opportunities or even criminal charges depending on the nature of what was said online.

Legal Provisions in BC Law

Fortunately for those living in Okanagan, there are laws designed specifically to protect individuals from being defamed online. Under Section 3(1) of The Defamation Act (RSBC 1996 c 40), anyone who knowingly publishes false information is liable for damages if that publication has caused material harm or damage to a person’s reputation or livelihood. In addition to this provision, local civil court rules also allow for lawyers representing libeled parties to subpoena records from internet service providers (ISPs) if necessary as part of their case against defendants charged with cyber-libel.

This means that regardless of where an offending statement was made online—whether it was posted on a website hosted by an ISP or through a private account maintained by an individual—the victim can act against anyone responsible for publishing false information about them online. It also means that ISPs have a responsibility under law not only to protect their users’ privacy but also ensure they do not facilitate libelous activities while using their services.

Defamation is serious business whether it occurs offline or online. Fortunately for individuals living in Okanagan who have been victims of cyber-libel, there are legal provisions designed specifically with them in mind so they can seek restitution and justice without having to worry about being further victimized by malicious actors on the internet. If you have been affected by cyber-libel, we recommend that you contact us so we can assess your situation and advise you on how best to proceed with seeking justice under local laws pertaining to defamation cases.

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Thank you for your interest in the Law Firm of Bell Jacoe & Company. Based in Summerland BC, we have served the South Okanagan since 1990. Our experienced lawyers provide help with real estate, wills and estates, powers of attorney, personal injury claims, divorce, general litigation, commercial law, and more.