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 … Read moreYour Ward News commentary and reportage

The fight for free speech

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

The Problem with Columnists

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 … Read moreThe Problem with Columnists

The Manson murders 50 years later: sometimes a psycho killing is just a psycho killing

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 … Read moreThe Manson murders 50 years later: sometimes a psycho killing is just a psycho killing

Superior Court judge gives damages to people targeted by SLAPP suit

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

Random Notes on Coverage of the 2019 Canadian Federal Election

Just a few random notes as the federal election campaign kicks off. I’ve had a very busy last few weeks with my law practice, and have been tossing some ideas around in my spare time. Here’s a look at some of this campaign’s challenges to the public’s right to know: The Hill media The aging … Read moreRandom Notes on Coverage of the 2019 Canadian Federal Election

Jesse Brown’s latest flop: making $20 by attacking a charity

I didn’t start this site to talk about Jesse Brown. It’s really supposed to be about the intersection of media, law and politics. But damn, when Canadaland is bad, it’s really the worst political/news site in Canada. I have been following his campaign against WE Charity, which is an organization I deeply believe in. And … Read moreJesse Brown’s latest flop: making $20 by attacking a charity

It’s about Jesse Brown’s money

An overview: The Government of Canada’s proposed $600 million media tax credit has dominated news blogs and chatrooms.[1] At the heart of the criticism is whether the temptation of dollars will influence coverage of the government.[2] I’ve taught journalism and media studies at Concordia University and the history of media propaganda at Carleton University. I … Read moreIt’s about Jesse Brown’s money

Canada considers new hate crimes regime

I am not going to do an analysis on this topic now. I have a conflict of interest because of my wife’s employer.  However, other people have done solid coverage on this. Thanks to Richard Franklin Carter for these links: Kathleen Harris of CBC News reports: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/justice-committee-online-hate-steyn-1.5161259 In the Law Times, Gabrielle Giroday reports: https://www.lawtimesnews.com/author/gabrielle-giroday/combating-online-hate-could-mean-legal-change-17280/ Marc … Read moreCanada considers new hate crimes regime

Here’s an anniversary you won’t hear about: it’s 100 years since World War I’s press censorship ended

(This is adapted from a piece I wrote for Maclean’s magazine earlier this year. The piece is about censorship, but the real topic is the value of news — even when that news is bad. Press censorship was extended after the end of the First World War while the government was trying to crush what … Read moreHere’s an anniversary you won’t hear about: it’s 100 years since World War I’s press censorship ended