The actual prohibition of speaking lashon hara only applies to people who are alive now. It is forbidden for me to speak about any Jewish person, young or old, man or woman, if they’re alive. However, the issur d’oraisa, the Torah prohibition, does not apply to people who are dead.
However, the chachamim made a gezeira, a decree, and a cherem, and very severe ban, on anyone who speaks about people who are dead. And therefore, even if a person is no longer alive it is forbidden to speak lashon hara about them and the laws of speaking about a person who is no longer alive parallel to the laws of speaking about any person who is alive now.
And therefore, in all intents and purposes, it is forbidden to speak about a person who is dead, to malign them, to degrade them, to tell over any story or event that speaks negatively of them, because effectively the issurim of lashon hara apply whether a person is alive or even if they’re no longer alive.
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