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 … Read moreNow that the ads are gone, can “objective” newspaper journalism survive?
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 … Read moreCBC wins SLAPP motion against Subway Restaurants
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 … Read moreSupreme Court of Canada upholds media source protection law, affirms the rights balancing test to be used by judges
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 … Read moreYou can’t sue just because you’ve embarrassed yourself (or your friend betrays you).
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 … Read moreCourt decision protects ATIP rights
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 … Read moreNew stuff to come in the next few days
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 … Read moreThe fight for free speech
I was counsel in this case. I represented the newspaper publisher defendant. On Friday, I heard we won our SLAPP motion. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, who are the former mayor and deputy mayor of the Town of the Blue Mountains, west of Collingwood, have been ordered to pay all of the lawyers’ bills and … Read moreSuperior Court judge gives damages to people targeted by SLAPP suit
Michael de Adder is the best editorial cartoonist in Canada. Like cartoons themselves, that’s a subjective statement. His style, which I like, may not be for everyone. His toughness and lack of respect for entrenched power, might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But cartoons are not always meant to be funny. They evoke elements … Read moreCartoonist Michael de Adder says he was fired for this
The House Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights has published a report about hateful expression on the Internet. The committee presented its report — Taking Action to End Online Hate — to the House of Commons on June 17, 2019. The committee recommends the government amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to restore Sec. 13, which … Read moreThe Return of Sec. 13 of the Canadian Human Right Act?