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Protection of personality – How to defend an interference with honour?

Have you ever been the victim of slander? Imagine, for example, a situation where someone starts repeatedly posting an edited photo of you on various social media sites suggesting that you are shoplifting something.

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4 minutes of reading

Chapters of the article

What can be an attack on honour and dignity? How can you defend yourself? What can be demanded of the pest? What are the penalties for publishing false accusations?

The Civil Code states that absolutely everyone has the right to the protection of his or her life and health, as well as freedom, honour, dignity and privacy. In the first part of the series on the protection of personal rights, we will look at the protection of a person’s honour. No one has to put up with insults and inappropriate comments. It is even less necessary to suffer the patently false statements mentioned in the introduction, especially if it harms your work or family.

What is an attack on honour?

How to define honor is a philosophical question that has no clear definition. However, we are concerned with the practical side of the matter. Today, it is assumed that a person may behave dishonestly, but he can never become a completely honorless person who is allowed to be insulted for no reason. You may lose your reputation, but you will never lose your honour completely.

Honour is violated by publishing false information or true but grossly distorted facts, for example. Furthermore, various photo montages, vulgar criticism or, for example, interference with the presumption of innocence.

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How to defend yourself and what to demand?

A person whose honour has been violated has the right to claim that:

  • Theinterference in question – in our case, the posting of the photo montage on social media –should be refrained from. It is therefore possible to demand that the author of the photo does not publish the photo anywhere else.
  • To remove the consequences of the act – in this case, to remove the previously published copies from all the pages where they were uploaded.
  • In addition, he was given appropriate compensation – this usually consists of a public apology in the event of non-pecuniary damage. The text of the apology must be required in the action so that the opposing party cannot further damage the interest originally affected by the apology.

Although the right to the protection of personality is a personal right, it can be asserted by any of the persons close to the person concerned after his or her death. However, persons of public interest participating in public debates have to endure a greater degree of criticism. This applies not only to politicians but also, for example, to various ‘celebrities’.

When is monetary compensation payable?

Satisfaction is primarily in the form of a public apology (so-called moral satisfaction). Only if a mere apology would not be sufficient in view of the seriousness of the interference can financial compensation be awarded.

The amount depends on many factors. The higher the amount claimed, the more it is necessary to prove the severe consequences for the victim’s person, health, family or, for example, his or her work and business. A banker, for example, cannot afford to be associated with embezzlement. An educator, on the other hand, is associated with casual sexual behaviour. The courts take a very different approach here, always assessing the specific effects on the life of the victim and his family in the individual case. It is therefore a good idea to prove them as far as possible.

Defamation

In addition to private action, it is often advisable to contact the police or, better still, the public prosecutor’s office with a criminal complaint.

The law states that ‘whoever makes a false statement about another person which is likely to endanger his or her esteem among his or her fellow citizens to a considerable extent, in particular to damage his or her employment, disrupt his or her family relations or cause him or her other serious harm, shall be liable to imprisonment for up to one year for defamation’.

If he does so by press, film, radio, television, publicly accessible computer network (on the Internet) or other similarly effective means, he may be punished by up to two years. In addition, anyone who falsely accuses another of a crime may also be tried for perjury and, in an extreme case, sentenced to up to 8 years’ imprisonment.

The concept of injury is encountered in Czech law in many different forms. Typically, it is mentioned in connection with compensation for damages in civil disputes, but the amount of the damage caused or the degree of damage also has its significance in criminal law, when it justifies the application of a higher criminal rate. In the context of environmental law, we are familiar with the concept of environmental damage. What is behind these terms and how is the amount of damage determined? This is the focus of our article.

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Author of the article

JUDr. Ondřej Preuss, Ph.D.

Ondřej is the attorney who came up with the idea of providing legal services online. He's been earning his living through legal services for more than 10 years. He especially likes to help clients who may have given up hope in solving their legal issues at work, for example with real estate transfers or copyright licenses.

Education
  • Law, Ph.D, Pf UK in Prague
  • Law, L’université Nancy-II, Nancy
  • Law, Master’s degree (Mgr.), Pf UK in Prague
  • International Territorial Studies (Bc.), FSV UK in Prague

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