Legal Updates

The right of freedom of speech is a relative and limited right which does not stand in cases of harassment or defamation

April 26, 2021

A married couple sought an injunction to prevent harassment by a man who has declared his love for the wife and set up websites and profiles on the Internet in which he published repeated posts declaring his intentions towards the wife and called for her to leave her husband, including statements claiming the husband was a fraud and a thief with a failing business and debts to creditors.
The Court granted the motion and ordered the publisher of the posts to stop harassing the couple and to refrain from publishing any further posts related to them. While the publisher of the posts has the right to freedom of speech, that right is a relative right limited by the rights of others and it does not stand in cases of harassment or defamation. The purpose of the publisher of the posts is not to arouse public interest or to warn creditors against the husband's business, but to damage the relationship between the husband and wife. Harassment in advertising can also be considered as such even if it is truthful , this when the advertising is done repeatedly, out of impure motives which are not for the benefit of the public, by electronic means and when there is a fear that in the future the action will repeat itself. Here, even if the content of the posts is essentially correct, the content of the posts and the totality of the circumstances in which they were published indicate that the purpose of the publication was not to protect the public or reveal the truth, but to try to harm the husband and his relationship with his wife. Under these circumstances, where there is harassment in the posts that infringes on the peace of mind of the person being harassed, then there is justification for restricting the publisher's right to freedom of speech.