Statement on Defamation

Published: Friday, 2 June 2017 at 12:19:40 PM

In recent weeks there have been a number of posts on social media and other correspondence calling into question the integrity and character of some or all Councillors and staff.  Some comments raised sufficient concern to cause advice to be sought on whether the comments were defamatory. 

Although most of the comments could be described as “robust political debate” some have been considered to be defamatory and there is a plausible case for defamation. (Defamation is defined by Wikipedia as “the communication of a false statement that harms the reputation of an individual person, business, product, group, government, religion, or nation.”) On the advice received,action could be taken against certain people calling for a retraction, an apology and, where relevant, the removal of the posts from social media and potentially a legal case for damages.

However, at this point, this option will not be pursued.  Rest assured this is not because taking action would be seen as bullying, harassing or threatening. People should be aware that the Shire of Merredin will not tolerate defamatory insinuation against Councillors or staff.  Councillors and staff are always prepared to engage in discussion but in an environment of mutual respect.

Please note that should more defamation occur Council will take action without further notice.

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