If you say something that damages the good reputation of a person, or a group of people you may have made a defamatory statement.
Lawyers say it's defamation if it has any of these effects:
- Leaves the person open to being hated, made fun of or treated as worthless.
- Means the person is avoided or rejected by other people.
- Makes it hard for the person to do their job or make money the way they normally do.
- Makes ordinary decent members of society think less of the person.
If you make a defamatory comment on TV, radio, the internet or in print then you can be sued for libel.