Blog

Mar 27
2017

Component Parts of Effective Anti-SLAPP Legislation


Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (“SLAPPs”) are when Big Resources (private or public sector) sue Little Resources (individuals, non-profit organizations) in order to silence them.  If the person or organization being sued (often for defamation) can’t afford to fight the case, they are effectively prevented from speaking out on the subject that got them SLAPP’ed. The case may be weak or even ludicrous, but the merits of the case don’t matter if you can’t afford to defend yourself in court. 


By Micheal Vonn / Posted Monday March 27, 2017

Speech Restrictive Laws

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Mar 20
2017

Climate Change Information and Disinformation


Disinformation, claims of competing economic imperatives and an inadequately informed public account for why governments have not acted effectively in response to the grave dangers posed by climate change.


By Jon Thompson / Posted Monday March 20, 2017

Disinformation

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Feb 28
2017

Authority and Freedom at UCLA, Toronto, and UBC


March in Los Angeles is a sweet month full of sunny, windless, dry days. In 2016 just after Presidents’ Day, I was at UCLA to visit two museums. The weather was fine and the university was outdoors. To get from one museum to another, I passed through the central campus where students staffed busy kiosks flogging popular causes—complete with boom boxes and street dancing.

Soon I was nose to nose with four energetic students, two men and two women who wanted my signature on petitions.


By William Bruneau / Posted Tuesday February 28, 2017

Academic Freedom

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Feb 16
2017

Fighting Bans with Gags? A Consideration of the Academic Boycott of US Conferences


Scholars in the United States and abroad have called for an academic boycott of international conferences in the United States in reaction to Donald Trump’s Executive Order banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries.


By Lara Karaian / Posted Thursday February 16, 2017

Censorship

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Feb 13
2017

Minorities and Free Expression


Free expression may be the most important freedom in a democracy. It is the lifeblood of truth. Free expression rights are ostensibly a measure to protect minorities, especially oppressed minorities. Enabling a minority to speak truth to power is a beautiful thing. Nevertheless, free expression can pose difficult challenges for minorities.


By Abbas Kassam / Posted Monday February 13, 2017

Censorship

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Feb 6
2017

Calling Out Fake News without Suppressing Expression. Can it be done?


In January, perhaps reacting to some of the more interesting “alternative facts” stories emerging from the United States, Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly tweeted the following:

What role can government play to support credible sources and counter the fake news phenomenon? #DigiCanCon #cdnpoli


By John Degen / Posted Monday February 6, 2017

Disinformation

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Jan 30
2017

Journalism Ethics 101 in China


Teaching a news “ethics” course in the fledgling journalism program at Jinan University in Guangzhou, China, proved to be a challenge, given the restraints on freedom of expression now occurring under the regime of President Xi Jinping.

It was only April, but I could feel the sweat trickling down my neck in the oppressive heat in Guangzhou - a city of 12 million about two hours north of Hong Kong on the coastal mainland. But the temperature wasn’t why I was sweating.


By Anne McNeilly / Posted Monday January 30, 2017

Freedom of the Press

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Jan 20
2017

Praying in School


The Peel District School Board, a public and secular board of education, met recently to decide what Muslim students should be permitted to say during their Friday Jumu’ah prayers.

A secular non-Muslim authority is requiring students to have their approval for the content of religious observances. What does this say about freedom of religion? And what about freedom of expression?


By Danielle S. McLaughlin / Posted Friday January 20, 2017

Teachers & Students Speech Rights

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Jan 13
2017

Journalists, police, and democracy


Last fall the news broke that Quebec police forces had been spying on journalists, over a period of time and almost as a matter of routine. Not only did Montreal police obtain warrants to tap into the phone and electronics of Patrick Lagacé (La Presse), close to a dozen reporters and journalists have been monitored by municipal and provincial forces, acting with and without warrants. The ensuing outrage focused on the alarming invasion of privacy and revelation that some violations took place with the law’s blessing, under warrants issued by justices of the peace.


By Jamie Cameron / Posted Friday January 13, 2017

Freedom of the Press

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