Defamation Act, 1953
- Commenced on 27 November 1953
- [This is the version of this document at 31 December 1996.]
1. Short titleThis Act may be cited as the Defamation Act.
2. InterpretationIn this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—"authenticated report" means a report, paper, votes or proceedings published by the order or under the authority of the President, the Cabinet or the National Assembly;"newspaper" means any paper containing public news or observations thereon, or consisting wholly or mainly of advertisements, which is printed for sale and is published in Zambia either periodically or in parts or numbers at intervals not exceeding thirty-six days;"wireless broadcasting" means publication for general reception by means of radiotelephonic emissions intended to be received by the public, and "broadcast by wireless" shall be construed accordingly;"words" includes pictures, visual images, gestures and other methods of signifying meaning.[As amended by G.N. No. 303 of 1964]
3. Slander affecting official, professional or business reputationIn an action for slander in respect of words calculated to disparage the plaintiff in any office, profession, calling, trade or business held or carried on by him at the time of the publication, it shall not be necessary to allege or prove special damage, whether or not the words are spoken of the plaintiff in the way of his office, profession, calling, trade or business.
4. Slander of womenIn an action for slander in respect of words imputing unchastity or adultery to any woman or girl, it shall not be necessary to allege or prove special damage:Provided that in any such action a plaintiff shall not recover more costs than damages unless the court before which the action is brought shall certify that there was reasonable ground for bringing the action.
5. Slander of title, etc.
6. JustificationIn an action for libel or slander in respect of words contained in two or more distinct charges against the plaintiff, a defence of justification shall not fail by reason only that the truth of every charge is not proved if the words not proved to be true do not materially injure the plaintiff's reputation having regard to the truth of the remaining charges.
7. Fair commentIn an action for libel or slander in respect of words consisting partly of allegations of fact and partly of expressions of opinion, a defence of fair comment shall not fail by reason only that the truth of every allegation of fact is not proved if the expression of opinion is fair comment having regard to such of the facts alleged or referred to in the words complained of as are proved.
8. Newspaper reports of proceedings in court privilegedA fair and accurate report in any newspaper of proceedings publicly heard before any court exercising judicial authority within Zambia shall, if published contemporaneously with such proceedings, be absolutely privileged:Provided that nothing in this section shall authorise the publication of any blasphemous or indecent matter.
9. Qualified privilege of newspapers
10. Plea of publication without malice and negligence, with apology
11. Unintentional defamation
12. Mitigation of damages
13. Agreements for indemnityAn agreement for indemnifying any person against civil liability for libel in respect of the publication of any matter shall not be unlawful unless at the time of the publication that person knows that the matter is defamatory, and does not reasonably believe that there is a good defence to any action brought upon it.
14. Limitation on privilege at electionsA defamatory statement published by or on behalf of a candidate in any election to any local authority or to the National Assembly shall not be deemed to be published on a privileged occasion on the ground that it is material to a question in issue in the election, whether or not the person by whom it is published is qualified to vote at the election.[As amended by G.N. No. 303 of 1964]
15. Consolidation of actions
16. Proceedings in respect of publication of authenticated reports
17. Extracts from authenticated reportsIn any action for libel in respect of the printing or wireless broadcasting of any extract from or abstract of an authenticated report, it shall be a good defence to show that the matter in question was in fact an extract from or an abstract of an authenticated report and that the publication thereof was bona fide and without malice.
18. Wireless broadcasting
19. Proceedings affected and savings
History of this document
27 November 1953