An odd Canadian law that prohibits reporting election results from the east before polls close in the west appears to be dead, and there don't seem to be many mourners.

An odd Canadian law that prohibits reporting election results from the east before polls close in the west appears to be dead, and there don't seem to be many mourners.

Federal Minister of State for Democratic Reform Tim Uppal announced the change via Twitter Friday. By using a social network tool to announce the ban would be revealed, Uppal highlighted one of the key reasons for the change: The law has become largely unenforceable.

The main effect of the 73-year-old rule when in first appeared was to prevent Western broadcasters from telling their audiences who had already won an election before some of them had cast their votes. But today, anyone can "publish" results via Twitter, Facebook, blogs and websites. In 2000 a Vancouver blogger, Paul Bryan, did so, was fined and fought the case all the way to the Supreme Court.

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The National Post editorialized Monday that the ban's repeal is welcome.

 

Grant Buckler is a retired freelance journalist and a volunteer with Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and lives in Kingston, Ont.