News Bytes

Freedom of expression issues in the media


Internet Freedom Around the World in 2020

Governments around the world are using the COVID-19 pandemic to justify greater censorship and surveillance on the Internet, says a report published by Freedom House in the United States. Yet Internet freedom in Canada remains extremely good, the report says.   REPORTAGE At CTV News, Solarina Ho and Mahima Singh report: https://www.ctvnews.ca/sci-tech/covid-19-eroding-global-internet-freedom-canada-among-the-most-free-report-says-1.5145180   Read Freedom […]


Appeal of “Your Ward News” Editor and Publisher Rescheduled

In Toronto, the appeal of two men convicted of promoting hatred against women and Jews has been rescheduled. Ontario’s Superior Court should begin hearing the appeal of James Sears and LeRoy St. Germaine on Nov. 10, 2020. Sears and St. Germaine worked together on Toronto’s Your Ward News.   REPORTAGE The Canadian Press reports: Appeal […]


Free Speech and the Kwantlen First Nation

In a letter to the chief and council of the Kwantlen First Nation, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) argues that section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies to First Nations people. Section 2(b) protects the fundamental freedoms of “thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and […]


Canadian Cabinet Minister Seeks “Legal Remedies” for Online Hatred

In Ottawa, David Lametti, the justice minister and attorney general of Canada, is seeking “legal remedies” to counter hateful expression on the Internet. The Department of Justice recently sent a letter to advocacy groups, asking them to provide ideas to fight “hate speech” on the Internet. The department didn’t make the letter public and didn’t […]


Police Charge Journalist Karl Dockstader in Ontario

In southern Ontario, provincial police laid criminal charges against journalist Karl Dockstader after he had filed reports about a land dispute in August. Mr. Dockstader had spent several days at the site of a land dispute between the Haudenosaunee and Foxgate Developments in Caledonia. The Ontario Provincial Police charged Mr. Dockstader with mischief and failure […]


A Decade of Banned and Challenged Books in the United States

The American Library Association has released its list of the 100 most frequently banned and challenged books in U.S. public libraries and schools in 2010–19:   http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/decade2019   The most frequently challenged book was Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.   At least two Canadian titles appear on the list:   […]


Author and Publisher of “Hansel et Gretel” Acquitted in Quebec Court

On September 24, 2020, Justice Marc-André Blanchard acquitted Yvan Godbout of producing child pornography. Godbout is the author of Hansel et Gretel, a horror novel that includes depictions of child sexual abuse. Justice Blanchard also acquitted François Doucet of distributing child pornography. He is the founder, owner and publisher of Éditions AdA. The company published […]


Attempted Book Banning in Newfoundland and Labrador

In St. John’s, a writer considers the history of book challenges in Newfoundland and Labrador’s public libraries. Andie Bulman writes for CBC News: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/banned-books-bulman-pov-1.5737342   In the United States, Banned Books Week took place from September 27 to October 3, 2020.   News Byte courtesy: R. Franklin Carter


Free Speech Caution Tape

In Toronto, John Degen, the executive director of the Writers’ Union of Canada, considers the legal limits of free speech in Canada. He refers to the recent rulings of the Supreme Court of Canada on two SLAPP disputes: 1704604 Ontario Ltd. v. Pointes Protection Association and Bent v. Platnick. https://cfe.ryerson.ca/blog/2020/10/free-speech-caution-tape-can-we-trust-those-lines Mr. Degen’s commentary appears on […]


Supreme Court of Canada Rules on Two Ontario SLAPP Legislation Cases

On September 10, 2020, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on two different SLAPP legislation cases: 1704604 Ontario Ltd. v. Pointes Protection Association and Bent v. Platnick. Both lawsuits originated in Ontario, both disputes touched on issues of public importance, and both defendants used Ontario’s anti-SLAPP law. But in only one case did the defendant […]