Nearly two-thirds of the Earth’s population live in places where the press is not free or only partly free, according to the annual global survey of press freedom released by the New York-based think tank Freedom House. Read the May 1, 2007 news report in Editor and Publisher.
Continue Reading Press freedom eroded in ’06
A routine request for a photo of a dog found in a court file shows how secretive Canada’s courts can be, says Toronto Star legal affairs reporter Tracey Tyler. It also raises questions about who will call the shots on a new liaison committee that’s supposed to improve access to the Ontario courts.
Continue Reading ‘Public’ file anything but: Access denied in dog photo case
Serge Menard, a Bloc Quebecois MP and former journalist, has proposed a shield law to protect the identities of journalists’ confidential sources. Bill C-426, introduced on April 17, 2007, would amend the Canada Evidence Act to restrict when a court can order a journalist to name a source. Those seeking to expose a source would have to prove it is in the public interest to name the source and show they have done everything possible to identify the source by other means. Judges would have to consider the importance of the free flow of information and the impact on the source before compelling a journalist to name a confidential source. The bill would also require judges to impose strict conditions on any search warrant issued to seize a journalist’s notes or other documents in the media’s possession. Read the Bloc’s press release (French only) and news reports in
Continue Reading Bloc moves to protect journalists’ sources
Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General is restricting access to court documents that reveal the name of an alleged victim of a sexual offence, citing a 2005 Criminal Code amendment that forbids the “transmission” of a victim’s identity. But Brian Rogers, a Toronto lawyer who regularly acts for the media, says a court order should not be required to access what has long been public information. Shannon Kari of The Law Times explores the issue in this May 14, 2007 report.
Continue Reading Ontario limits access to court documents
An Ontario judge has imposed a publication ban that prevents a group of terror suspects from exposing the conditions they face in solitary confinement. The men want to have their habeas corpus application heard in open court, and legal experts say the public deserves to know whether they are being detained “legally and by the books.” The Toronto Star‘s Tracey Tyler reports.
Continue Reading Terror suspects’ complaints banned
A pair of recently filed defamation suits have the potential to reshape free speech on the Internet in Canada, Internet law expert Michael Geist warns in this Ottawa Citizen commentary published on May 1, 2007. A British Columbia businessman is suing a who’s who of the Internet, including Yahoo!, MySpace and Wikipedia for allowing users to post or link to articles he alleges are defamatory.
Continue Reading Libel suits put online free speech at risk