Blogs and the internet are a great way to communicate. More and more news gets out - and unfortunately a lot of rubbish to! Those that usually write the stories usually claim to do so in the spirit of "freedom of speech" but they, and the website owners who usually react in horror when they discover they cannot disclaim responsibility for postings of others on their websites, are actually often engaged in "freedom to defame and lie". Fortunately, as us attorneys well know, the law does not work that way.
I recently did a case for a young professional lady defamed by anonymous posters on a South African website which resulted in not only the removal of the posting, but more importantly in a payment from the owner of the site, who did not in fact post the comments, but nevertheless published them via his site.
I have no doubt this will be a growing field and for attorneys who litigate, as I do, they will come across more and more cases. In fact, I am busy on a few more cases at the moment - and hopefully some will be in the R100 000 plus domain of the High Court as we need some more reported judgments. Attorneys who are also involved in such cases, or become aware of any such judgments in the future, are welcome to e-mail them to me for publication on this blog and in my usual columns and e-mail lists.