Cyerlibel is considered a catchphrase that refers to defamation that happens in the internet. This defamation could happen on forums, chatrooms, email, messageboards, web sites or published articles online. Defamation, as traditionally defined, is the act of a person to communicate a false and damaging statement against a third party that does a verifiable harm to the defamed person’s reputation. Because cyberlibel happens online, this has raised legal issues regarding free speech, the role of public figures, the opportunities regarding refuting statements, and anonymity. These are issues that are bringing about discussions about the formation and implementation of new laws and regulations.
Libel, traditionally, happened through established media like print, TV and radio and it also made distinctions between private and public figures. Public figures are supposed to have lesser expectations of achieving privacy with regards to their activities. They are also in a position to more easily address or respond to damaging information thrown at them in order to correct public opinion. But a private individual should have a greater protection for their reputation and privacy mainly because they do not have the means to easily reach people who have been exposed to misinformation. This is why they are more likely to win a libel case.
Cyberlibel makes private figures public through the strength of new media, which is considered more accessible. Libel laws are determined by jurisdiction, which cannot be applied on the internet. There are no limits to the reach of the internet. This is the reason cyberlibel is being discussed closely by legal luminaries in order to further understand the ramifications of libel in the new media .