Liechtenstein

 CountryType of Law 
 
 

Criminal Defamation

The Liechtenstein Criminal Code foresees the following offences:

Defamation (Art. 111): Accusing a person of a disreputable characteristic or dishonourable behaviour that would lower the person’s public standing.

Defamation is punishable with up to six months in prison or a fine of 360 times the daily rate. If committed via a print medium, radio or television, or any other channel by which the defamatory content would reach a broad audience, the act is punishable with up to one year in prison or a fine of 360 times the daily rate.

True statements or statements for which the offender had good grounds to believe true are exempt from criminal liability (Art. 111(3). This exemption, however, does not apply in certain cases listed in Art. 111(4), including for factual accusations related to private or family life.

Slander (Art. 112): Accusing a person of a disreputable characteristic or dishonourable behaviour that would lower the person’s public standing while knowing that the accusation is false.

Slander is punishable with up to two years in prison or a fine of up to 360 times the daily rate. If committed via a print medium, radio or television, or any other channel by which the defamatory content would reach a broad audience, the act is punishable with up to three years in a prison or a fine of 360 times the daily rate.

Acts of slander and defamation are exempt from criminal punishment if these were carried out to fulfil a legal duty or exercise a right (Art. 114).

Insult (Art. 115): Ridiculing, verbally abusing or physically mistreating a person in a manner accessible to a third party.

Insult is punishable with up to one month in prison or a fine of up to 60 times the daily rate. Insult committed publicly is punishable with up to three months in prison or a fine of up to 60 times the daily rate.

The following offence should also be noted:

Damage to business reputation (Art. 152): Making false claims that damage or endanger a person’s creditworthiness, business activity or professional advancement.

Damage to business reputation is punishable with up to six months in prison and/or a fine of up to 360 times the daily rate.

Criminal Defamation of Public Officials

No provisions.

It should be noted that criminal offences against honour are generally prosecuted upon the request of the offended party. When the offence is committed against the Prince, the parliament, the government or any other public authority, prosecution occurs ex officio (Criminal Code Art. 119).

Criminal Defamation of the Head of State

No provisions.

Criminal Defamation of the State and its Symbols

Public defamation, slander or insult directed at the Landtag, the government or another official body constitutes a criminal offence (Art. 116 Criminal Code) and is punishable under the terms of Arts. 111, 112 and 115.

Denigration of the State and its symbols (Art. 248): Insulting or bringing into disrepute the Principality of Liechtenstein in a hateful manner and through means accessible to a wider public, and/or insulting or denigrating the national flag (when displayed at an official or public event), national symbol or national anthem. Either act is punished with up to six months in prison or a fine of up to 360 times the daily rate.

Criminal Defamation of Foreign Heads of State

No provisions.

Criminal Defamation of Foreign States and Symbols

Denigration of foreign symbols (Art. 317): Insulting or denigrating an officially displayed flag or symbol of a foreign state or international body or publicly performed anthem of a foreign state.

The act is punishable with up to six months in prison or a fine of up to 360 times the daily rate.

Criminal Defamation of the Deceased

No provisions.

Criminal Blasphemy

Denigration of religious teachings (Art. 188): Publicly ridiculing or denigrating a person, thing, teaching, custom or place of worship of a domestic church or religious group in a way that may cause justified indignation.

The act is punishable with up to six months in prison or a fine of up to 360 times the daily rate.

Criminal Statistics

According to official statistics, police in Liechtenstein recorded the following numbers of offences in the years noted :

article of Criminal Code 2013 2014 2015
111 – defamation 0 1 3
112 – slander 1 0 1
115 – insult 2 0 2
116 – insult to govt. bodies 0 0 0
188 – blasphemy 2 0 0
152 – damage to business reputation 0 0 0
248 – denigration of state and state symbols 0 1 1
317 – denigration of foreign symbols 0 0 0

Criminal Law and Media

N/A

Recent Legal Changes

N/A

Notes and Acknowledgements

Information for Liechtenstein was originally collected by IPI as part of a study commissioned by the Office of the Representative on Freedom of the Media of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). It is reprinted here with the permission of the OSCE. Last update: March 2017.

The information contained in this database is for informational and advocacy purposes only. If you are a journalist facing a defamation claim, you should seek legal advice from a qualified attorney. However, if you are unable to find such an attorney, IPI may be able to assist you in doing so. Please contact us at info(at)ipi.media.

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