In the past general law divided defamation into two categories - libel and slander. Libel is the publication of defamatory matter in permanent form, while slander is the publication of defamatory matter in non-permanent form. Something defamatory that is printed in a newspaper or book was called libel, but the same thing, if spoken, was called slander. Under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth), the publication of defamatory matter over radio or television is deemed to be in permanent form and is, therefore, libel [s 206].
However, since the introduction of the Defamation Act 2005 on 1 January 2006, the distinction between slander and libel has been abolished and the publication of defamatory matter of any kind is actionable .
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