The CBC has won an important SLAPP motion against Subway Restaurants. SLAPPS are “strategic lawsuits against public participation” and have been used for years to scare people into silence. They are commonly used against environmentalists, political activists, journalists — especially small media — and bloggers. Ontario’s SLAPP law has brutal consequences for people who sue simply to shut others up.
I write non-fiction books. My last one, Bush Runner, was a national best-seller, reaching the number one spot on the CBC’s national list, and charting for weeks on the Toronto Star and Globe and Mail’s lists. It was a great feeling to see it there, not because I was making a lot of money — I wasn’t — but because
Supreme Court of Canada upholds media source protection law, affirms the rights balancing test to be used by judges
The Supreme Court of Canada has issued a decision that suggests journalistic source protection, which many reporters and editors believe is guaranteed under a law brought in by the Trudeau government, is far from absolute. Now, though, judges have clear guidance on how to weigh the rights of the accused against society’s need for media scrutiny of public affairs. Yesterday
Some words of warning from the courts: if you do something embarrassing at a party, you can’t sue if your soon-to-be-ex friends post a picture of it on Twitter, Facebook or some other social media (at least, outside Quebec, where privacy laws are pretty strict). This week, the Supreme Court of Canada turned down an application for leave to appeal
Ken Rubin is a professional investigator who is one of the country’s most skilled access to information users. Rubin’s clients include media and corporations who want information on the way all levels of government conduct business. ATIP and its provincial variants are supposed to give structure to the public’s access to public documents while protecting the legitimate privacy rights of Canadians.
LeRoy St. Germaine, the publisher of the Toronto publication Your Ward News has been sentenced to one year of strict house arrest. Its editor, James Sears, will spend a year in jail, if he loses his appeal. They were both convicted of spreading hate against Jews and women. This is the first time a court has punished hate speech against
I have been enjoying a sort of holiday — doing the things I need to do for my practice, and to get ready to move into new accommodations in downtown Ottawa while trying to have some family recreational time. I am working on a piece on free expression during election campaigns, and the balancing of rights between individuals who want
The Economist has published an outstanding feature article on the attacks on free speech by autocrats, but also by governments, like India’s, that are still considered democratic. The writer has the intellectual sophistication to understand that free speech is undermined in three ways, which I explained in my book Kill the Messengers: Stephen Harper’s Assault on Your Right to Know.
Newspaper publishers love opinion writers for the same reason TV news networks use so many journalist panels: they’re cheap. In fact, they cost much less, per word, than reporters. The copy flows in every day, for spots that are laid out long in advance. No risk, no surprises. Punch in at 9 a.m., leave at 4:30. Real journalism is far
We are coming up to the 50th anniversary of the Manson Family murders, and the cash registers will be ringing at bookstores and movie theatres as we relive a ghastly weekend that most people are too young to remember. We’re helped along by Quentin Tarantino’s new movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood¸which, despite mixed reviews, looks like a summer