The expression of an opinion or of a true statement may never constitute a valid claim of defamation.
- States should ensure that their laws relating to defamation conform to the following standards: No one shall be found liable for true statements, opinions or statements regarding public figures which it was reasonable to make in the circumstances.
- In accordance with international and regional law, “hate speech” laws should, at a minimum, conform to the following: no one should be penalized for statements which are true.
- To require truth in the context of publications relating to matters of public interest is excessive; (d) it should be sufficient if reasonable efforts have been made to ascertain the truth. With regards to opinions, it should be clear that only patently unreasonable views may qualify as defamatory.
- ...no one should be liable under defamation law for the expression of an opinion; in relation to a statement on a matter of public concern, it should be a defence to show that publication was reasonable in the given circumstances; and civil sanctions for defamation should not be so large as to exert a chilling effect on freedom of expression and should be designed to restore the reputation harmed, not to compensate the plaintiff or to punish the defendant; in particular, pecuniary awards should be strictly proportionate to the actual harm caused and the law should prioritize the use of a range of nonpecuniary remedies.