Saturday, January 2, 2010

Canada was also too easy on libel plaintiffs; this may have changed


We’ve covered British libel tourism here, but Canada has also had a problem. Plaintiffs have been able to get judgments against newspapers in Canada more easily that in the U.S. But the New York Times today has an important editorial, web URL “Canada’s Free Press”, link here.

The Supreme Court of Canada recently announced an affirmative defense of “responsible communication on matters of public interest.” The journalist must show that a comment or report is in the public interest and has practiced some due diligence in fact verification, even if the report is incorrect.

It’s not clear from the editorial if this applies only to “establishment” media or would also apply to amateur bloggers (including those outside of Canada who write about a potential Canadian plaintiff).
Wikipedia attribution link for NASA satellite photo of Canada

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