I was not able to update my blogspot blog for a while and upon checking my dashboard, there were lots of comments awaiting moderation. One of my posts was flooded with questions and testimonials about SEA-MARJ. Last August 2010, my BHO blog became controversial as someone from the said training center introduced him/herself as the company’s legal counsel. Talk about filing a libel case against me – Hot Issue: Libel Against Me
They also threatened me through email. Just when I was blogging for truth, the guilty parties were attacking me. After sending them my professional reply, I never heard anything from them, but their business continued to operate. I would like to thank Jobstreet for taking time to consider my feedback about SEAMARJ and updating their job listings. The misleading information on their job posting has been corrected, I believe. Still, there are job hunters who fall for it, who gets text messages for interview only to be disappointed about the training fee. These people are looking for real job to earn a living, not a training center who promises a prestigious job but requires them to shell out money. I’m not talking about these things to put their business down. I just hope that they’ll be more professional next time. And to all the job seekers out there, be responsible enough to check the company background before appearing for interview. Asking questions won’t hurt. Googling for answers will do.
Now, let’s go to the blogger’s side.
How do we handle things that require legal actions?
The first thing I did was analyze the situation. I asked myself some questions: Did I pissed them off? Am I ruining their business? Did I do something wrong? Am I a threat to their company? Why are they so bothered with my little post? Is it because the blog content is highly searchable and it’s appearing in the first page of Google search?
My voice was heard all over the web, I supposed. People find my blog, post comments and spread the word. I was not even a fan of Facebook by then which could make things better or worse through viral technology.
After reading their comments and email, I sent a prompt response. Yes, I’m good in handling things professionally. (Their exact opposite.)
Once their comment goes live on my site, I made a research about libel and suddenly I wanted to be a lawyer. Not like those Brooklyn Accident Attorney’s but the one who specializes in constitutional laws.
Libel has several basic elements: there must be an imputation of a crime or a defect against a person, living or dead, who must be identifiable; it must be published and, most important of all, it must be malicious, meaning there must be an ill motive behind the publication. Absent any one of these elements, there is no libel.
But here is the catch: The law recognizes two types of malice—malice in fact and malice in law, also called presumed malice. Malice in fact has to be proven by the complainant; he must prove that the accused bore ill will against him. Malice in law, however, does not have to be proven. The law presumes any defamatory publication as malicious, the logic being that when it was written and published, the authors meant it to hurt the victim.
Then I consulted this matter with my close friends and my boyfriend even recommended his Uncle to be my lawyer if worse comes to worst.
Even without supporting articles, I know, and honestly believe that I am not guilty. But just for enlightenment, here’s why.
When a complaint for libel is filed, present of course is the defamatory story, identification of the person defamed, and publication. The only thing to be proven is malice in fact, or actual malice. But because of “malice in law,” there already is a presumption of malice which the accused must overcome with his defenses, such as privilege (it is based on public records), the complainant is a public official or figure and therefore his life is an open book, or the motive for publication is the public good.
I also read some related blog posts about my situation. And find it overwhelming to get an undying support from the bloggers community. There were also lot of law practitioners who are willing to lend a helping hand if necessary.
If one day, you find yourself in the same situation, don’t be threatened. Fight for what is right and hold your head up high. I blog to spread the word and you share for a better world.
Image source: e-rockford.com