The media often gets criminal law wrong

I wrote a series of articles last summer on Canadaland’s dismal attempt to trash one of this country’s most important and valued charities. Today, I am posting an example of a piece where a Canadaland writer got the story right. Mainstream media portrayed a recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision as a license for drunks to commit sexual assault. In

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Councillor sued for social media post

This case raises some interesting issues. An Ottawa city councilor is being sued for going much too far in what he likely saw as self-defence on social media. When a constituent called the councilor out for claims that he –the member of council — had improved policing in his ward, the politician allegedly responded by going after the employment of

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Now that the ads are gone, can “objective” newspaper journalism survive?

Newspapers were, originally, subversive publications. News sheets were smuggled into England in the 1500s and early 1600s from Holland to dodge government censors. Governments and official religious groups wanted complete control of information. When France surrendered its North American possessions to the British in 1763, there wasn’t a single newspaper in its colonies. There wasn’t even a printing press.All of

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Libel Law update (Ontario)

Just a few notes to bring people up to date on speech issues in Canada. We are still waiting for the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Pointes Protection and another case involving Ontario’s law against Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation (SLAPPs). These are lawsuits, usually for defamation (but not always. Pointes Protection is actually a breach of contracts case) that are

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CBC wins SLAPP motion against Subway Restaurants

Update: CBC has been awarded $500,000 in costs . That is a huge deal for free expression. We may very well see an end to lawsuits being fled to shut down media inquiry, and this kind of cost award deters corporations from trying to use the courts to muzzle environmentalists and anyone else who criticizes them. The CBC has won

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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

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Court decision protects ATIP rights

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.

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Your Ward News commentary and reportage

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

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New stuff to come in the next few days

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

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