Six media outlets in British Columbia will hand over thousands of photos and videos of last June’s Vancouver riots to police under a court order – but not before putting them online for readers to see.
On Thursday, The Globe and Mail ran a front-page story stating that there had been a "reversal" of policy on the part of the government when it came to the legality of same-sex marriages in Canada. Outrage ensued. Commenters, social media and response columns all blasted Stephen Harper and his Conservative government for a move they considered to be steps backward. But it isn't so cut and dry, and in fact, the media kind of got it wrong. Kevin Kindred is a lawyer and LGBT rights activist with Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project in Halifax, NS, and he explains why this is a legal issue – not a political one – and how the media helped to manufacture false outrage over the issue.
Will a new libel defence bring business to self-styled experts in media practice? As Rhiannon Russell reports, that’s been the case in Quebec, and the rest of Canada may follow suit.
At 19, Heather Robertson wrote an editorial that enflamed the college jocks, sparking a career dedicated to fearless reporting. Regan Reid takes a revealing look at Canada’s feistiest journalist. This story originally appeared in the Winter 2012 issue of the Ryerson Review of Journalism.
A Toronto Star investigation into the city’s busy youth court met with resistance from judges and prosecutors, arbitrary publication bans and attempts to block access to the basic records the media needs to cover the justice system. In the words of reporter David Bruser, the paper had to fight to lift the “institutional shroud covering the often-disturbing details of youth crimes from public view.”Read the Star’s Oct. 29 report: “A Secret Court.”
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.
An Ontario judge has found no grounds for preventing the media from reporting that one of three people accused of murder has pleaded guilty, even though the co-accused will stand trial soon. And another judge of the province’s Superior Court has refused to seal documents filed in a civil case despite a claim they reveal trade secrets.
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.
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.
Edited by Thomas Rose
The Law Section is a clearinghouse for news, information, advice and commentary on matters of law of importance to journalists and to anyone with a passion or just a curiosity about the issues of our times.
Thomas Rose lectures in law and journalism at Wilfrid Laurier University. His research interests include journalism and democracy, international criminal law, and freedom of expression.
Thomas has published in various peer-reviewed academic journals and has an LL.M in International Law from Leiden University and a Masters in Studies of Law from Yale Law School. He is also an award winning journalist. Thomas has worked in public and private media for more than two decades as a Reporter, Senior Producer, Executive Producer, and Project Manager on national, regional and international multi-media projects. His work has taken him to Ghana, Italy, Northern Ireland, Vietnam, Russia, South Africa, and the United States. From 2006-2010 Thomas provided commentary and analysis on global affairs and legal issues for CBC online.
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