There should be a range of remedies available in the case of defamation, respecting the requirement that all remedies be proportional.
- Political figures and public officials should only have access to those legal remedies against the media which private individuals have in case of violations of their rights by the media. Damages and fines for defamation or insult must bear a reasonable relationship of proportionality to the violation of the rights or reputation of others, taking into consideration any possible effective and adequate voluntary remedies that have been granted by the media and accepted by the persons concerned. Defamation or insult by the media should not lead to imprisonment, unless the seriousness of the violation of the rights or reputation of others makes it a strictly necessary and proportionate penalty.
- In defamation and libel actions, a range of remedies should be available, including apology and/or correction; and (h) Sanctions for defamation should no be so large as to exert a chilling effect on freedom of opinion and expression and the right to seek, receive and impart information; penal sanctions, in particular imprisonment, should never be applied.
- With these broad principles in mind, the Special Rapporteur wishes to emphasize that in pre-election periods…(c) The media are exempt from legal liability for provocative statements by candidates or party representatives; the right of reply is provided, as well as correction or retraction in cases where defamation is alleged; the manner and extent of remedy is determined by an independent body.