Monday, December 1, 2014

Defamation Laws in Canada Out of Control? Fighting for Freedom of Speech [Awan vs Ezra Levant]

 


Sun News Network:  Is it illegal in 2014 to call activists in an anti-Semitic organization, anti-Semitic?

 $80,000 defamation award against Ezra Levant by Judge Wendy Matheson (former lawyer for Sabina Citron and the Canadian Holocaust Remembrance Association - who represented them before the Canadian "Human Rights" Tribunal in the E. Zundel case) for his comments posted about the Canadian Islamic Congress and K. Awan.

Back in March, 2014 I wrote this about online defamation (in the Fournier/Baglow case):

Seriously, what the heck has happened to defamation law in Ontario?

When the blogosphere went to battle over the now repealed Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, (Canada’s internet censorship legislation) one of the strongest arguments the side supporting freedom of speech had, was that with the “Human Rights” Act was rigged and that the Process was the Punishment.  With Section 13 and its lengthy Tribunal process and rules made up as they went along; the system itself ground little people into the dirt all the while using the unlimited power and resources of the state.  The best example is the “human rights” case against me which took over TEN years of my life!  After seeing a defamation case in person, I can surely say that the process is the punishment here too, the only real exception is that in a defamation hearing, the process is a punishment – potentially – for both sides.  (And by “potentially”, let me quote “Dr Dawg” from his testimony today, “a company like McDonalds could use defamation law via a SLAPP suit to harass critics of their food/company”. In the case of rich companies or individuals, the process being a punishment via civil suits is the whole point!)

The blogosphere rallied together to get rid of Section 13, now it’s time to rally together to amend, or repeal all together, defamation law and its applicability to the Internet.  The best disinfectant to horrible laws is to shine a light on them.  The light of truth and honestly was shone on Section 13, and within a few years, it was repealed. I urge all bloggers, writers, free thinkers and freedom lovers to take a serious look at Ontario’s ridiculous defamation laws and throw off this easily abusable yok of speech restriction. 

To quote John Gilmore of the EFF, “The internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.”  Let’s put that into law, so that writers can express themselves on matters of public interest, without the fear of having to spend tens of thousands of dollars defending themselves.   The CCLA has some good ideas on how to reform the law, and it is really worth a read: Supporting Anti-SLAPP legislation

 As more of these "defamation" cases are ruled on by the Canadian "justice" system, the clearer it has become; the out-dated defamation laws in Canada need serious reform.  Judges who pay mere lip-service to freedom of speech should not be sitting in judgment over inalienable rights. Freedom of speech should not be only granted to those with the "right" opinions; while the rest of us have to second-guess every comment we post online - in fear of facing years bogged down in the court system, and subjected to tens of thousands in legal costs.

Internet defamation laws should be reformed and bloggers, twitter posters, webmasters and others should not be forced into silence; to avoid a dilapidated and out of control legal system, which is easily gamed by professional serial complainers.


 You can read more on the Levant case at:  http://www.standwithezra.ca

Khurrum Awan (apparently) has a blog at  http://www.khurrumawan.com/blog/  and on Facebook.