Sunday, February 15, 2009

Canadian ruling on libel defense may affect citizen journalists

Today the Calgary Herald reports that the Supreme Court of Canada is set to rule on a new libel defense called "public interest responsible journalism."

The defense, which was upheld by an appeals court in Ontario more than a year back, allows journalists to "be protected from libel suits, even if they got some of the facts wrong, as long as they prove they acted responsibly."

Canada, like the other Commonwealth democracies, does not demand of public plaintiffs actual malice as the burden of proof. So the new defense, if upheld, may turn out to be particularly important. If upheld, the ruling would also have implications for citizen journalists, Canadian or not. I'm keeping watch -- will try to follow the story for this blog.

No comments: