This introductory chapter begins with a brief discussion of the main purpose of this book, which is to address the question of whether the civil law of defamation, more particularly in its common law manifestation, achieves an optimum constitutional balance between the right to reputation and the right to freedom of expression. It then discusses the horizontality of constitutional provisions in the context of defamation and the broad approach adopted in England, South Africa, Australia, and the USA to the issue of balancing rights in the context of judges developing the common law of defamation. An overview of the subsequent chapters is presented.
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