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The burden of proving that the material is defamatory lies with the claimant. However, the claimant is not required to show that the material is false; there is a rebuttable presumption that this is the case and it is for the defendant to prove otherwise. In England and Wales, for an action to be successful, not only does the meaning of the material complained of have to be defamatory, the claimant must also show that it refers to him or her and that it has been communicated to a third party.

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