Defamation Laws In Spain

In Spain, defamation constitutes a criminal act, known as “calumny” and “injury” under Articles 205 and 216 of the Penal Code.  In Spain, ‘calumny’ is a crime by spreading or publishing a falsehood when you either know it is not true, or with ‘reckless’ contempt of the truth.  In one article published by Olive Press, while English libel law is notoriously skewed in favor of the person making the claim and payouts are also often massive, Spain’s legislators do not share these views and therefore the number of defamation cases is comparatively low. In Spain, the sums awarded are also reduced through injunctions.

Under Article 131 (1) of the Penal Code, the crime of defamation shall prescribe in one year.  Further, the aggrieved party may choose to file a civil action as prescribed under Article 109 of the Penal Code.

However, let us consider some of the current defamation cases existing in Spain.  For instance, the Spanish courts through the support of the Spanish Data Protection Authority (“SDPA”) and other members of the European Union recently asked the Internet-search provider Google to remove data about a private individual from its index.  This request is based on the doctrine of the “right to be forgotten” as it relates to internet defamation.

In a previous article, the Spanish Data Protection Authority has already been demanding from Google to remove links to over 100 articles from its search listings, as the subjects of the articles are claimed to be libelous.