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Title: Defamation case law in Hong Kong : a corpus-based study
Authors: Cheng, L
Cheng, W 
Li, J
Keywords: Corpus approach
Dase law
Hong Kong
Linguistic evidence
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Mouton De Gruyter
Source: Semiotica, 2016, v. 2016, no. 208, p. 203-222 How to cite?
Journal: Semiotica 
Abstract: Defamation law is a long-standing research focus. Previous studies on defamation law have pointed out the importance of balancing two fundamental issues in law, namely, protection of reputation and freedom of speech. The present corpus-based legal study, using ConcGram 1.0 as the analytical tool, examined the phraseological profile of reported cases on defamation in Hong Kong in order to find out the types of defense and the approach to meaning in the defamation case law in Hong Kong. Regarding defenses to a defamation claim, the results show that fair comment, qualified privilege, and justification are the most prevalent types, that unintentional defamation is not used at all, and that there has been a noticeable shift from fair comment to honest comment. As for the approach to meaning, the ordinary and natural approach is found to be a pivotal means of solving the threshold problem in defamation cases, that is, whether the words involved are defamatory or not.
ISSN: 0037-1998
DOI: 10.1515/sem-2015-0114
Rights: © Walter de Gruyter GmbH
The following publication Cheng, L., Cheng, W., & Li, J. (2016). Defamation case law in Hong Kong: A corpus-based study. Semiotica, 2016(208), 203-222 is available at The final publication is available at
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