Today’s decision by the Supreme Court of Canada about defamation law has shifted the balance from plaintiffs to defendants — in other words, towards greater free speech. The court calls it a modernization, which it is — phenomena like talk radio shows, partisan TV panels and the Internet were not around when defamation law was developing (it actually goes back 400 years). It also brings us more in synch with the U.S. approach to free speech, and breaks away from the European model of soft censorship.
In other words, it should terrify Canada’s human rights commissions. (…)
The decision doesn’t end defamation suits, of course. It merely moves the fulcrum a bit, by widening the scope of what constitutes “fair comment”. Fair comment must still be rooted in true facts; but if those facts are clear, and the defamer’s comments are clearly his own views, the court will give latitude to even “outrageous” and “ridiculous” opinions.
The rule of thumb for writers — and bloggers — remains: get your facts straight. But the good news for free speechniks is that, if your facts are accurate, you can be dramatic, critical and even wrong in your opinions. It’s good news for bloggers — and bad news for censors everywhere.
Tune in to Sun News!
Advertise on this blog!
CLICK HERE for ad rates!
Rob Ford tshirts back!
NEW from Lawrence Eubank:
- Why Israel Will Be More Secure in 2014 than in 2013
- Islamic Jihad on Christian Nuns: A History
- Syrian rebel group demands hostage swap for abducted nuns
- Survey on Islam in Austria: 18% of Muslims support death sentence for apostasy, 21.9% oppose democracy
- Rob Ford says blackmail allegation an 'outright lie'
NEW from New English Review:
- Your moral and intellectual superiors! NYT embraces new ‘voodoo’ theory of JFK assassination, with Julie Andrews on the grassy knoll
- ‘[T]he notorious Hearings’ of the House Un-American Activities Committee [were] conducted by Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy…’
- Rob Ford sounds like he’s doing a Hulk Hogan impression because… he’s doing a Hulk Hogan impression
- ‘Booksellers’ row along Queen Street West is now finished’
- Family of Gore Vidal allege he was a pedophile, cite secret file kept by William F. Buckley
- Dear American commenters at HotAir: Bragging about how stupid you are is not attractive
- Steve Sailer on ’12 Years a Slave’ — which sounds like two hours of b.s.
- On the Rob Ford file: ‘…which Toronto news anchorwoman worked as a call girl…?’
- ‘America’s future will be extremely confusing to journalists’
- Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘theory’ about Northern Ireland proves he’s a total twit