What is libel?

Every week, Student Press Law Center attorneys answer a frequently asked question about student media law in “Ask SPLC.”

Q: What is libel?

A: Libel is the publication of false statements of fact that seriously harm a person’s reputation. 

If a statement is true, it cannot be libelous, no matter how harmful it may be to the person’s reputation. 

See SPLC’s legal guides on libel to learn more.

Legal questions should be directed toward SPLC’s legal hotline. Ask SPLC questions will be selected based on trends in the legal hotline. The legal hotline is confidential and no identifying information will be used in the Ask SPLC segment.