Defamation Laws In Switzerland

In Switzerland, defamation, slander and insult constitute a criminal act under Articles 173-1, 174, 175, 176 and 177 of the Swiss Penal Code.  .  The Swiss courts recognize truth as a valid defense and may be presented by the defendant in order for him to be exonerated from criminal liability.  Likewise, the defendant will not incur a penalty if he “proves his allegations to be truthful,” or if he had reasonable cause to “hold them in good faith as being truthful.”  The judge in Switzerland determines whether statements are true or not.

Under Article 178 of the Swiss Penal Code, the prosecution for the offenses against honor (defamation, slander, insult) shall be barred in four (4) years..  When it concerns defamation against a deceased or absent person, there is a limitation to enforce the law up to 30 years (after the death).

The Swiss Federal Court has upheld the protection of an information source for internet news portals.  Accordingly, Switzerland has supported source protection in connection with a medium’s blog, which means that the Swiss internet news portals may not reveal their source information from third persons, thereby “preserving the media freedom.”