McLean’s wins Human Rights case

The Canadian Human Rights Commission has refused to hear a complaint against McLean’s Magazine that it published information that held Moslems up to hatred and contempt. The four page decision isn’t available yet (I’ll link to it when it is), but this is one media commentary on it:

CTV, June 28, 2008

Read the Supreme Court’s decision on Mair

and it is interesting reading. Among other things, the judges pointed out that Ms Simpson, an anti-gay activist, herself used provocactive, aggressive language to defend her case, e.g. that there is a “war” between homosexuals and non-homosexuals. Meanwhile, the more long-lasting decision will be the following test on what constitutes “honest belief”, a key component of the argument of “fair comment” that is a standard defense against defamation, particularly by the media.

It is therefore appropriate to modify the “honest belief” element of the fair comment defence so that the test, as modified, consists of the following elements: (a) the comment must be on a matter of public interest; (b) the comment must be based on fact; (c) the comment, though it can include inferences of fact, must be recognizable as comment; (d) the comment must satisfy the following objective test: could any person honestly express that opinion on the proved facts? Even though the comment satisfies the objective test of honest belief, the defence can be defeated if the plaintiff proves that the defendant was subjectively actuated by express malice. The defendant must prove the four elements of the defence before the onus switches back to the plaintiff to establish malice.

Supreme Court of Canada, June 27, 2008

Absence of malice kills libel suit against Rafe Mair

The Supreme Court dismissed libel charges against BC radio host Rafe Mair today, citing fair comment and absence of malice in his remarks. While his comments were the typically outrageous expected from Mr. Mair, nevertheless the justices overturned a lower court ruling.

The court also modified a key component of the fair comment defence that the person making the comment must honestly believe in it.

The court said that the test of honest belief is not to be based on whether the specific person holding the opinion believed it. Rather, the statement should be evaluated on the basis of whether any person might honestly hold the view based on the facts at issue.

CTV, June 27, 2008

Media bias in the copyright debate

Some thoughts from the blogosphere of the conflict of interest most mainstream media face in the copyright debate: Most mainstream media are owned by major ISP providers and tech companies.

“UPDATE:  Hugh comments below that his point was: Most mainstream ISPs are owned by major media companies.”

hughmcquire, June 26 2008

Quebecor fights with unions on on-line reporting

Quebec’s militant journalism unions are fighting Quebecor’s plans to have its journalists do more on-line reporting, as is now common in English language and US media.

Canadian Press, June 27, 2008

Domain names now wide open

The body that regulates domain name use on the web has just allowed for a big expansion from .com and .org. This is likely to set off bidding wars for new names.

CTV, June 26 2008

Orlando Sentinel tries redesign to woo new readers

With ad revenues collapsing in the US, redesign is once again tried to win new readers. Will it work? Well, it basically seems to be USA today bright graphics, short stories and more columns. This one will need some time.

Orlando Sentinel, June 23 2008