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Posted 07 December 2012 - 01:56 AM
A pregnant woman on the local chat facebook page has posted asking for opinions and experiences with local doctors, for care during her pregnancy. She is unhappy with her current provider.
Apparently today she was contacted (by phone) by the gp surgery, threatening legal action for defamation.
Surely people sharing opinions (all done in a very polite way ie "I wasnt happy at x surgery, so went to see dr y, who was great") cant be grounds for defamation?
And if the surgery IS in the wrong here, is there a way she can lodge a complaint about these threats?
Poor mumma is stressed and panicking now
Posted 07 December 2012 - 03:08 AM
The surgery is correct. Sure you can complain about stuff like that but you can't go naming the place .
Posted 07 December 2012 - 05:34 AM
Yes and no. Its a really complex area of law.
Saying something as a fact, that damages someone else's reputation is defamation. But there are all kinds of defences - including truth and opinion. So you can say "I wasn't happy with Dr X" or "I don't like Dr X".
You can also say (if it's objectively true) "Dr X often runs late".
Or you can tell a factual story about what happened when you went to see Dr X and how it made you feel. But you need to be sure you are telling the absolute truth.
But if you say "Dr X is a bad doctor" or "Dr X is a racist" you would have to be able to prove its true or you could be liable. Obviously something like that is really difficult/impossible to prove.
Websites don't want to get involved in all the intricacies so they don't let you name anyone when making negative comment.
Posted 07 December 2012 - 06:14 AM
EB has rules posted for defamation here. http://www.essentialbaby.com.au/forums/ind...howtopic=764089
Not sure how relevent they are to your friend though.
Posted 07 December 2012 - 06:16 AM
This is the very reason we do not allow comment about medical practitioners on the forums here. Often representatives of practitioners will use a google search to see if there is any comment that may adversely affect their business and then take legal action if they feel they have had their reputation damaged in any way.
Posted 07 December 2012 - 06:43 AM
Yes, what Meggs1 said...
Same reason why we aren't allowed to name names on this site.....
Mentioning Dr x and his shoddy practices to a friend in a private conversation is one thing, but putting it on Facebook, or a public forum, is every bit "publishing" your bad opinion same as if the Sydney morning herald ran the story.....
If your friend has a concern about a dr, then there are appropriate authorities to complain to......(they have a "qualified privilege" to hear such complaints - provided the complaints aren't malicious or vexatious - so defamation isn't a concern here)
Posted 07 December 2012 - 08:42 AM
Would the mum now be able to say that (factually) Surgery X has personally contacted her regarding this FB page and is now threatening legal action.
Then go to PM's only.
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