May 24, 2013 - Posted by Thomas Rose

Its been a week since the Toronto Star and Gawker went public with allegations concerning Mayor Rob  Ford mixing with self identified criminals and possibly smoking crack cocaine.  The mayor has denied the allegations dismissing them as part of a larger vendetta against him.  Given the seriousness of the allegations and the damage they are doing to the office of mayor as well as to Ford himself, why hasn't he filed a libel suit?  J-Source Law Editor Thomas Rose explains. 

May 02, 2013 - Posted by Thomas Rose

Brian Burke says anonymous bloggers have deliberately set out to ruin his good name.  As his defamation suit against those bloggers goes forward, perhaps it is time to begin a discussion about whether internet anonymity should be restricted, writes J-Source law editor Thomas Rose.

Apr 05, 2013 - Posted by Tamara Baluja

While acknowledging that the Toronto Star has problem with overusing unnamed sources, public editor Kathy English wrote the newspaper's use of anonymous sources met the Star's standards in this particular case. 

Feb 12, 2013 - Posted by Dean Jobb

Prosecuting and jailing citizens for defamatory libel smacks of show trials we’d expect from countries such as Russia and China, says media lawyer and Law Times columnist Alan Shanoff. Yet the archaic law remains on the books and was recently used to imprison an Ottawa restaurant owner for publishing false material concerning an online restaurant reviewer. It's time to abolish the crime and leave libel to the civil courts, he argues in a February 11, 2013 column.

Feb 08, 2012 - Posted by Dean Jobb


The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has asked Fredericton police for an explanation of why a local blogger, Charles LeBlanc, is being investigated under the little-used law of criminal libel. In a Feb. 1 letter, the group seeks an explanation of why LeBlanc, "apparently a vocal critic of the police force," had his computer seized during a search of his home. The group points out that courts in at least three provinces -- Ontario, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador -- have struck down the Criminal Code's libel provisions as a violation of the constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression.

Read the CBC report, which includes the text of the letter.

Oct 19, 2011 - Posted by Dean Jobb

Internet users who post hyperlinks to libellous material posted on other websites cannot be sued for repeating the libel, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled. The Oct. 19 ruling in Crookes v. Newton protects one of the most basic functions of the Internet -- the ability of users to share links to material posted online, even material they have not fully reviewed and they may not agree with. The court recognized that simply posting a link to material that may be libellous is a far cry from publishing or repeating the libel, let alone endorsing what has been said in the linked post.

Read the ruling in Crookes v.Newton, 2011 SCC 47.

Read the Globe and Mail report.

Read CBC senior legal counsel Daniel Henry’s analysis of the ruling.


Sep 24, 2011 - Posted by Dean Jobb

It has been almost two years since the Supreme Court of Canada created the libel defence of responsible communication on matters of public interest -- long enough for at least three courts to weigh in on what journalists must do to meet its criteria. In this column in the upcoming issue of the CAJ's Media magazine, J-Source's law section editor Dean Jobb explores how the new defence is being interpreted.

Sep 13, 2011 - Posted by Dean Jobb

An Ontario judge has tossed a libel action against three political bloggers, arguing that web-based political discussions are forums for “the parry and thrust” of vigorous debate and participants whose reputations have been attacked should fight back with words, not legal action.

Jan 18, 2011 - Posted by Dana Lacey
Q: I work in Kenora, where an elder has asked me to help her tell her life story. The parts about living off the land and descriptions of the culture are wonderful. The sections where she's talking about the abuse she suffered at the local residential school are trickier. She doesn't name names, but she does name the school. It'll also be possible to identify individuals in charge. The specifics make her story much more powerful, but she may end up with some legal issues. Any thoughts or advice? Answer by media lawyer Bert Bruser.

Jan 11, 2011
What is "responsible" journalism? Celebrating the first anniversary of an epochal Canadian libel judgment that will see this question litigated for years to come, a group of graduate students has launched a wiki to help journalists themselves define their profession's best practices. Ryerson professors Brian MacLeod Rogers and Ivor Shapiro explain.
Syndicate content