I am not talking about criminal libel or defamation in jurisdiction where such a thing exists - rather, is there a modern equivalent of an oath ? Can a talk show host for example ask an interviewee to confirm or deny an alleged fact in such a way that if later determined to be a lie it will make the interviewee criminally liable ? Can a private party form a contract with another party that should a certain representation be determined false a criminal rather than civil penalty will apply ?
Yes - it’s called an oath
Or, if you do not want to take a religious oath, you can make an affirmation instead which is legally the same but cuts out the deity.
If the document that is sworn or affirmed is to be used in a court or tribunal it’s called an affidavit, if not, it’s called a statutory declaration. In NSW how they are made is detailed in the Oaths Act 1900. Swearing or affirming a knowingly false statement is a criminal offence.
Other laws detail when they are required, for example, photo generated vehicle penalty notices have a blank statutory declaration on the back so the owner can identify the person in control of the vehicle. They can also be called up in contracts- they are pretty standard in construction contracts where a contractor must make a statutory declaration that all employees wages, entitlements and insurances have been paid as a prerequisite to their own payment from the principal.
There are two contexts where a lie might be a crime. One is criminal fraud, and the other is lying to the authorities in an official matter (not involving a sworn statement i.e. perjury, which involves more than just an "official proceeding"). If the police are investigating some suspicious event, it may be a (non-perjury) crime to make a false statement to them. The usual way of framing this is in terms of a false statement in a "matter" within a particular jurisdiction, which could mean an SEC investigation of suspicious stock trading. That would exclude the talk show host case or the contract case. The second would be be criminal fraud which is a step up from civil fraud (a higher standard of proof). The most important element of fraud is making a material false statement in order to obtain another person's property. If you can come up with a scenario where a talk show host gives his property to an interviewee based on the assumption that a particular statement is true, then maybe there is a basis for a criminal fraud charge. The same situation could apply to a contract, but also doesn't need an explicit "liable to prosecution if you lie" statement. If I have a contract with you where you must deliver a specific car to me in exchange for me giving you $10,000, it would be fraud if you did not intend to deliver the car and instead take off with the money. However, apart from the scenario of obtaining property via a false or deceptive statement, there is no option to criminally prosecute a person for a false communication to an unprivileged person (i.e. not "the authorities").
In Germany, you can make a statement under oath outside of court. It's criminal to do this if the statement is false.
Let's say an accusation is made against you. If I ask you "is that accusation true", if you were innocent you would say "absolutely no". If you were guilty, you wouldn't admit it, and you would also say "absolutely no", so this statement of yours won't convince people either way. If the accusation is false, and it is important to you that you are believed, you could make a statement under oath.
To clarify: Such an oath can obviously not be enforced - but that wasn't the question. It is done entirely voluntarily when people make a statement that cannot be proven true or proven false, and it is very important to them that their statement is believed. Especially as an answer to an accusation that cannot be proven or disproven.
A says "I saw B doing X" (which is either true or a lie, but nobody except A and B can know). B says "I declare under oath that I didn't do X". Everyone will now assume that A was lying. Except if A repeats his statement under oath - which means someone has committed a crime and the police will try to put one of them into jail.
Actually, the other answer is incorrect in one respect.
If you are a director of a public company and you say something false that could change the stock price, even to a reporter, you could be in trouble. Elon Musk got in trouble for his tweets and now has to have someone look over them. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/mark-cuban-elon-musk-sec-200719978.html
I'll admit they probably won't throw you in jail for a tweet, but the law would technically permit it, so it is theoretically possible.
They are right about lying in a contract and to the police though. Both can be criminal under the right circumstances.