Defamation in Germany

Tangentially related to yesterday’s post, I’m reminded that, some time ago, a friend of mine, based in Germany, who happens to be a lawyer (Rechtsanw√§ltin), informed me that defamation is a criminal offence under German law. This is different from the UK and Ireland, where defamation is a matter for the civil courts. Here is a translation of Section 187 of the German criminal code (Strafgesetzbuch):

Sections 185 and 186 are related to this. The law applies to acts committed in Germany, such as sending messages by email or via social media using a computer based there.

I mention this law for two reasons. One is that to point out to readers that they have legal recourse if a person based in Germany is intentionally defaming you. The other is to suggest that, if you are based in Germany and are in the habit of committing repeated acts of intentional defamation, it may be in your best interests to desist.

I hope this clarifies the situation.

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