Friday, July 4, 2008

PHILIPPINES ,1 July 2008
Journalist shot dead, his reporter daughter injured, in Sariaya
SOURCE: Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), New York

(CPJ/IFEX) - The following is a CPJ press release:
PHILIPPINES: Journalist shot dead by gunmen on motorcycle
New York, July 1, 2008 - The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the Philippine government to fully investigate the shooting death of Robert "Bert" Sison today in Sariaya town, about 60 miles (97 kilometers) southeast of Manila. Sison reported for the weekly Regional Bulletin, which has published articles on crime and stories critical of local officials.
Sison, 60, was shot in his car by two unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle and died at the scene. The gunmen also wounded his 30-year-old daughter, Liwayway, in the arm before fleeing the scene. Sison's 24-year-old daughter, Amirah, escaped unharmed by pretending to be dead. Both of Sison's daughters also report for the Regional Bulletin.

"We are deeply troubled by Bert Sison's killing and implore the local authorities to investigate his death swiftly," said Joel Simon, CPJ's executive director. "The Philippine government must do all it can to ensure that journalists will not be harmed for performing their duties. Our condolences go out to the Sison family."
CPJ is investigating whether Sison's murder is connecting to his work as a journalist. Sison is the second Philippine journalist killed this year, according to CPJ
( see: http://www.cpj.org/news/2008/asia/phil08apr08na.html ).
The Philippines ranks among the deadliest nations for journalists. In its Global Campaign Against Impunity, CPJ has partnered with local press groups in the Philippines to raise awareness of the unresolved killings of dozens of journalists
( see: http://www.cpj.org/impunity ). CPJ research shows an impunity rate of over 90 percent in murders of Philippine journalists.
CPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit http://www.cpj.org/

For further information, contact Asia Program Coordinator Bob Dietz at CPJ,
330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA., tel: +1 212 465 1004, fax: +1
212 465 9568, e-mail: bdietz@cpj.org , mearp@cpj.org , Internet: http://www.cpj.org/
The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of CPJ.
In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit CPJ.
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SRI LANKA 1 July 2008
Deputy head of Sri Lanka Press Institute and British diplomatic employee brutally assaulted during attempted abduction following attack by government-controlled newspaper
SOURCE: Free Media Movement (FMM), Colombo

(FMM/IFEX) - The following is a 30 June 2008 FMM press release:
Assault on Journalist Mr. Namal Perera
The Free Media Movement (FMM) is shocked and outraged at the brutal assault of Sinhala-language journalist and deputy head of the advocacy section of Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) Namal Perera and a friend (Monday, 30th June 2008). Mr. Perera and his friend, Mr. Mahendra. Amaraweera, a Sri Lankan national working as head of the political section of the British High Commission in Colombo, were driving between Narahenpita and Kirulapone at around 6:30 p.m. (local time) when they were waylaid. The assaulters attempted to abduct Mr. Perera, but were resisted, and both Mr. Perera and his friend were badly beaten in the fracas. They are currently receiving treatment at the Apollo hospital. The potential abductors had clearly shouted that it was Mr. Namal Perera they were seeking.
FMM notes that at the time of the assault, the SLPI was contemplating legal action against the state-controlled "Dinamina" newspaper for alleging that the SLPI had sent members of the LTTE on a foreign tour to Denmark under the pretense that they were journalists. (. . . )

This latest incident is sadly typical of the rampant assault on democracy and the freedom of expression that is taking place in Sri Lanka today. State-controlled media and government ministry websites are in the habit of baselessly demonising journalists and media professionals as supporters of the LTTE, and physical assaults are being committed with total impunity. The complete contempt for democratic freedom, fundamental human rights, and the rule of law that is demonstrated by incidents such as these, openly condoned by the highest government officials at various times, engenders no confidence that the dark climate of fear and intimidation shrouding media freedom in Sri Lanka today is being addressed by the government effectively or sincerely.
We will be closely monitoring the actions taken by the government, in particular the Cabinet Sub-Committee under the Chairmanship of Minister Sarath Amunugama, to bring the perpetrators to justice in this latest criminal act, and will be treating this case as the litmus test of its effectiveness.
FMM calls upon all citizens of Sri Lanka to regard these revolting acts of cowardly violence against journalists as an assault on democracy and the human rights of all Sri Lankans. FMM takes this distressing opportunity of the assault on Namal Perera and his friend to unreservedly condemn, once again, the continuing attacks in various forms on the independent media and to call for their immediate end.

For further information, contact the Free Media Movement, 237/22, Wijeya Kumaratunga Road, Colombo 05, Sri Lanka, tel: +94 777 312 457, +94 11 257 3439, fax: +94 11 471 4460, e-mail: fmm@sltnet.lk , Internet: http://www.freemediasrilanka.org/

The information contained in this update is the sole responsibility of FMM.
In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit FMM.

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NEPAL 1 July 2008
Television journalist receives anonymous death threats following coverage of corruption cases
SOURCE: Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), Kathmandu
(FNJ/IFEX) - Prem Baniya, a senior reporter with Avenues Television station, has recently received repeated telephoned death threats. According to FNJ Avenues Television chapter secretary Pramod Ayam, these threats follow the revelation of corruption cases broadcast in a programme called "Khabar vitra ko Khabar", of which Baniya is the host.
The journalist told FNJ that he is in a state of agony and fear due to the threats. He also informed FNJ that the threats are anonymous.
FNJ condemns threats against journalists carrying out their duties and asks the government authorities to identify and punish the perpetrators. It also demands that journalists' safety be ensured and states that a safe environment to exercise press freedom is essential.
For further information contact Saru Subedi, Media Monitor, FNJ, Media Village, Tilganga, Kathmandu, Nepal, tel: +977 1 449 0063 / 3873, fax: +977 1 449 0085, e-mail: fnjnepal@mail.com.np , mediamonitor@fnjnepal.org , Internet: http://www.fnjnepal.org/
The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of FNJ.
In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit FNJ.
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INDIA 1 July 2008
Several journalists attacked, injured while covering student demonstration in Kerala, amid police indifference
SOURCE: International Press Institute (IPI), Vienna

(IPI/IFEX) - The following is a 27 June 2008 IPI letter to Chief Minister
H.E. V. S. Achuthanandan and Home Minister H.E. Kodiyeri Balakrishnan:

H.E. V. S. Achuthanandan
Chief Minister
Government of Kerala
Trivandrum
India

H.E. Kodiyeri Balakrishnan
Home Minister
Government of Kerala
Trivandrum
India

Vienna, 27 June 2008

Your Excellencies,

The International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in over 120 countries, would like to express its concern at yesterday's despicable attacks on a team of reporters and photographers during a march organised by the Students' Federation of India (SFI) in the southern Indian state of Kerala.
According to information before IPI, on 26 June, a team of reporters from the daily Malayala Manorama and the Manorama News Channel were attacked while covering demonstrations held by the SFI, an organisation linked politically to the communist Marxist party, in the Kerala city of Kottayam.
Manorama News reporter Pradeep Joseph had arrived at the scene of the demonstrations to report on acts of physical violence carried out by SFI members against activists from the Kerala Students Union and the Youth Congress in front of the city's Belios College. While reporting on the incident, he was set upon by SFI activists and repeatedly punched and kicked. Joseph took refuge in a police car, but was apprehended by his attackers, who continued to physically assault him.
Malayala Manorama journalists Nishad Kurien and Arun John, who were trying to report on the attack on Joseph, were also brutally attacked, while cameraman C Abhilash and driver Sabu were assaulted while attempting to save Joseph from his assailants.
Following the attacks on the journalists, the SFI activists turned their attention to the Manorama offices, which they pelted with stones, causing damage to the building and to vehicles parked in the vicinity. The team of reporters was hospitalised following the attack, where two of them remain due to the serious nature of the injuries they incurred.

Physical attacks on journalists represent the most serious threat to the fundamental right to press freedom. As such, all action must be taken to ensure that the perpetrators of these attacks are brought to justice, and that such events do not repeat themselves. Therefore, IPI calls on the authorities in Kerala to carry out a thorough investigation of the matter
and to bring all those responsible for the violence to account for their actions.

IPI would also like to express its deep concern at the reported inaction of the police authorities during the attacks on the journalists. The authorities have a duty to intervene in such matters, not only to defend the journalists' right to practice their profession, but also to safeguard the lives of citizens and to prevent public unrest. As such, IPI calls on
the authorities to carry out a full inquiry into the actions of the police during the protests and attacks, and to draft recommendations to ensure that there is no repeat of this event.

Thank you for your kind attention.

Yours sincerely,

David Dadge
Director

RECOMMENDED ACTION:
Similar appeals may be sent to:
H.E. V. S. Achuthanandan
Chief Minister
Government of Kerala
Trivandrum
India

H.E. Kodiyeri Balakrishnan
Home Minister
Government of Kerala
Trivandrum
India

Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

For further information, contact IPI at Spiegelgasse 2/29, A-1010 Vienna, Austria, tel: +43 1 512 90 11, fax: +43 1 512 90 14, e-mail: Uta Melzer (Africa) at umelzer@freemedia.at ; Barbara Trionfi (Asia) at
btrionfi@freemedia.at ; Michael Kudlak (Americas) at mkudlak@freemedia.at ;
Husam Madhoun (MENA) at hmadhoun@freemedia.at ; Colin Peters (Europe) at
cpeters@freemedia.at ; Oliver Vujovic (SEEMO) at vujovic@seemo.org , Internet
site: http://www.freemedia.at/

The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of IPI.In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit IPI.
We are passing through a crucial time with our mission of free speech, we should be much careful about our constant vigilance for freedom of Expression and not to bow under pressure. Our Faith on freedom of expression where grounded the soil is loosening it is a matter of concern.

The Erosion of Free Speech By Janet Levy
FrontPageMagazine.com Thursday, July 03, 2008

The headline of the article(June 8th ) in the Daily Times of Pakistan read “Pakistan to ask EU to amend laws on freedom of expression,” the request from high-level government officials was in reality a threat. The six-person Pakistani delegation was set to deliver a threatening alert that unless blasphemy against Islam stopped, terrorist attacks against European assets could escalate. Their cited example was the suicide bomb attack this June 2 on the Danish Embassy in Pakistan in which eight people died and 27 were injured as a result of possible renewed backlash to the 2005 publication of 12 editorial cartoons depicting the Islamic prophet Mohammed.

Islamabad informed the European Union countries that the backlash to perceived insults to the “religion of peace” could jeopardize “inter-religious harmony” and result in uncontrollable attacks on other diplomatic missions abroad. A high-level delegation representing the Pakistani government was to travel to Brussels to further warn EU officials of the liabilities of free expression.
This apocryphal grandstanding, in which Islamabad seeks to eradicate free speech and reclassify it as an offensive hate crime, is part and parcel of the insidious Islamic effort to establish a worldwide Islamic caliphate under shariah law. Paradoxically, in most of the Muslim world, the right of free speech is nonexistent. Verbal and physical attacks on non-Muslims are rampant, as is death for apostates, terrorism training for youth, hate indoctrination of non-Muslims in mosques and schools and the oppression of Christians, Hindus and Jews. But Muslims feel free to use democratic precepts in the service of their own radical ideology to, ultimately, overthrow liberty, eliminate individual rights and destroy freedoms in Western societies. They seek prohibitions on free expression to strengthen Islam, pave the way toward Islamization and keep the Western public ill informed and unaware of potential threats to the democratic way of life. By couching this effort as merely the elimination of offensive speech, they conceal their true goal of undermining the laws of Western societies, specifically the very foundation of democracy – free speech.

This goal was dramatically illustrated in March of 2008, when the 57 Muslim states that make up the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) struck a blow against free speech by successfully forcing through the United Nation’s Human Rights Council (UNHRC) an amendment to a resolution on Freedom of Expression. The amendment, requiring extensive changes to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, officially characterizes as abuse and an act of religious discrimination any criticism of Islam. It also calls for the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression to report any individuals and news media issuing negative comments about Islam.

In June, this limitation on free speech was further underscored when representatives of two non-governmental organizations sought to address stonings, honor killings and female genital mutilation sanctioned under shariah law. As part of the effort to mute criticism of Islam, the Egyptian UNHRC delegate demanded that the speakers be silenced, proclaiming, “Islam will not be crucified in this Council.”

Thus, banned from UNHRC sessions is criticism of shariah laws that oppress women, condemn homosexuals and threaten converts and non-Muslims. Also banned are statements against Islamic law-sanctioned child marriage, honor killings, the hanging of homosexuals and the murder of apostates.

The United Nations is not the only front where Islamic gag orders are in place. Canada’s Human Rights Act, which defines hate speech as any speech “likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt,” was used against Ezra Levant, the former publisher of The Western Standard, who was charged by the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission with offending Muslims by reprinting in 2006 the Danish cartoons of Mohammed. Thus, Canada is increasingly regulating opinion and making it a crime to hurt someone’s feelings. The right of free speech is being replaced by the right not to be offended.

Also in Canada, author Mark Steyn and MacLean’s magazine were charged by the Canadian Human Rights Commission of “spreading hatred and contempt” for Muslims by publishing in 2006 an excerpt from Steyn’s book, “America Alone.” The Canadian Islamic Congress filed a complaint with the commission, seeking to ban opinions such as Steyn’s that they deem “Islamophobic.” Steyn was charged with hate speech for using the term “Mohammedan” to describe Muslims and for failing to incorporate differing points of view in his writing. Although charges were dismissed in June this year, if they had been found guilty, financial penalties could have been assessed against MacLean’s, which would dampened opinion journalism throughout Canada. Yet, a Canadian investigator in the Steyn/MacLean’s case, when asked about the importance of free speech in his considerations, remarked, “Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don’t give it any value.”

In the United Kingdom, two Christian clerics were recently prohibited from preaching and handing out biblical tracts in a “Muslim area.” In an ironic twist, a Muslim police officer charged with upholding British law accused the ministers, technically agents of the Church of England, of perpetuating a hate crime by proselytizing. Thus, an officer charged with maintaining law and order in England prevented the preaching of the doctrine of the established faith of England. Curiously, this event occurred at a time in which the UK is accelerating the hiring of British police officers in Muslim areas in order to “build bridges” with the Islamic community.

Last month, when the Bishop of Rochester warned that Britain was developing “no-go zones” that are the exclusive province of Muslims, he was denounced as Islamophobic. His fellow bishops and government ministers denied the existence of such Muslim-only areas. The Bishop and his family were placed under police protection after receiving death threats at home warning that he would not “live long” if he continued to criticize Islam.

Yet, “no-go” zones do exist and are apparently being preserved by agents of the British state. They are areas where it is dangerous for non-Muslims to enter, as demonstrated in 2006, when former Home Secretary John Reid was heckled by Islamist Abu Izzadeen who cried, “How dare you come to a Muslim area.”

In January, 2007, the UK government again ignored its illustrious heritage of freedom of expression and undertook an investigation of a television broadcast of the documentary, “Undercover Mosque.” The program contained footage of radical imams in British mosques spewing hatred of Christians and Jews, advocating the subjugation and beating of women and praising Osama Bin Laden. Other footage included a Taliban who had killed a British soldier and Muslim clerics advocating Islamic supremacy, suggesting that homosexuals should be killed, calling for jihad and justifying the July 7th London bombings.

Instead of scrutinizing the mosques and calling for an end to such hateful and inflammatory rhetoric, British authorities, bowing to pressure from terrorist-sympathizing groups such as the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, the Muslim Council of Britain and others, denounced the program as “Islamophobic.” Local police solicited the services of the Crown Prosecution Services (CPS), which launched an extensive investigation of the network, scrutinizing 56 hours of media footage for possible prosecution under the Public Order Act of 1986: showing inflammatory material likely to stir racial hatred.

Eventually, the investigation concluded that, although the CPS believed that the editing process had “completely distorted” the sermons of the Muslim clerics, the police were advised to drop their criminal investigation due to insufficient evidence to substantiate charges of incitement.

Essentially, “Undercover Mosque” was an important story to potentially alert the British public to the threat of a fundamentalist ideology endemic throughout the British Islamic community. Unfortunately, it was discredited by the police who, in a misguided attempt to prevent Muslim backlash in the community, were placed in the untenable position of supporting radical Islamists and opposing British free speech.

Thus, as Islamic calls to prayer ring loudly throughout England from an ever-increasing number of imposing mosques, Christianity, individual freedom and the British identity are being marginalized while Islam is permitted free rein to fill the void.

Within the United States, important dialogue about the threat of radical Islam was silenced by the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department which issued a memo in May instructing bureaucrats on how to talk about the “war on terror.” The memo called for restrictions on terrorist-defining nomenclature in accordance with recommendations from American Muslims. Thus, definitive and descriptive words such as “jihad,” mujahadeen,” “Islamic terrorist,” “Islamist,” or “holy warrior” were to be avoided, even though Muslims and Muslim media worldwide use this very terminology.

The government memo also advised that the war on terror be renamed a “global struggle for security and progress.” This change, undertaken to avoid glamorizing the appeal of Islamist ideology and reduce terrorist recruitment, came about after the Secretary of Homeland Security solicited assistance from American Muslims. These newly proposed “speech codes” were advanced with the intent of eliminating the appeal of the virulent ideology of Islamism. Thus, the State Department and the DHS advanced the idea that terminology used by the government could fan the flames of radicalism, yet totally ignored the impact of violent rhetoric common in mosques across the country and on the Internet. Instead, the government focused on curtailing the speech of public servants charged with preserving our national security and accommodated the demands of Muslims. Lost was the opportunity for effective communication to inform and alert the American public of the Islamist threat.

Another instance of DHS curtailment and accommodation of Muslims, occurred when Muhammad Rana, a Pakistani Muslim and new DHS hire was being trained as an adjudication officer at the agency’s Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC). Rana participated in a seven week training course in which he claimed to have faced discrimination based on his religion and national origin. In a March 2005 complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Rana said the instructional content of his classes contained “disparaging and factually inaccurate information about the Islamic faith and the Arabic people.” His in-class protests apparently prompted an instructor to recommend that Rana be investigated for possible terrorist ties. An administrative law judge ruling found that Rana had been subject to a hostile work environment and ordered $50,000 in compensatory damages, $6,195 in missed overtime, reimbursement for medical and prescription medication costs incurred as a result of the hostile work environment and, most significantly, the removal and destruction of and DHS memoranda regarding Rana’s potential ties to terrorist organizations. Ultimately, the course in question was discontinued by the DHS.

In these ways, our constitutional right to freedom of expression is being eroded and our democratic principles are being used against us to silence our concerns. With increasing frequency, free speech is being regulated, banned or categorized as a hate crime through intimidation tactics and apocryphal human rights concerns. We have come to the point where publishers have volunteered to pulp or alter the text of books to avoid lawsuits. Major newspapers freely chose not to publish the controversial Mohammed cartoons. Some organizations that have weathered costly slander lawsuits designed to silence them, have become cautious about weathering other suits that could cost them their insurance coverage.

None of this is coincidental. It is explained in “The Project,” a strategic planning document of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) written in 1982 but captured in a raid in Switzerland in 2001. It describes a long-term plan to take over the West, a roadmap to defeating the West through propaganda, infiltration and jihad using intimidation, subterfuge and influence operations. The MB master plan calls for Muslims to take advantage of constitutional freedoms and societal openness and seek employment in every sector of American society, including sensitive civil institutions, law enforcement, politics, the media and others. In addition to individual Muslims, many seemingly mainstream and “respected” U.S. Muslim organizations, some active in America since the 1960’s, are affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and are actively involved in carrying out its mission of “destroying Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house so that Allah’s religion is victorious over all other religions.”

Thus, the very nature of our republic is being challenged by a redefinition of our First Amendment to appease the demands of Islamists seeking to destroy us. Sadly, as we accommodate the Islamists, we are capitulating to their violent ideology and discriminatory religious practices and losing our precious rights and freedoms. In this way, we become partners in our own demise and hasten the downfall of the free societies we profess to cherish in the West. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Janet Levy is the founder of ESG Consulting, an organization that offers project management, fundraising, promotion, event organizing and planning services for conservative political causes and issues related to terrorism and national security.
source
http://frontpagemagazine.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=1CAC2897-674D-44AB-ADF4-BA77930F421E

Oh dear, what seems to be the problem?
If four courts tell you No, then try a fifth. Don't worry about boring people or being a nuisance or making a fool of yourself.

Danish Muslims are planning to take Denmark's Jyllands-Posten daily to Europe's highest human rights court over the publication of satirical drawings of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him)...The move comes a day after a Danish court rejected a suit by seven Muslim groups against newspaper editors for publishing the offensive cartoons..."It is a known fact that acts of terror have been carried out in the name of Islam and it is not illegal to make satire out of this relationship," the court said.
Well that's the problem, isn't it: it is not illegal to make satire out of this relationship. That's what we're saying. It should be illegal. It should be illegal to say things we don't want to hear. The law should say 'Nobody may write or say or sing anything that these seven Muslim groups don't want to hear. Never you mind how you're supposed to know what that is; use your common sense.' The law would say that, if Denmark weren't such a poxy secular infidel decadent feeble degenerate impure shithole of a place. Why did we ever come here? Well apart from the jobs and the prosperity and the freedoms and the drink and the infrastructure and the peace and the good governance and crap like that.

Thursday's ruling was the fourth by Danish courts to reject legal charges against the daily....The drawings, considered blasphemous under Islam, have triggered massive and sometimes violent demonstrations across the Muslim world and strained the Muslim-West ties.
And rightly so. Because the drawings are considered blasphemous under Islam and therefore no one in the world ought to be allowed to draw such drawings because what is considered blasphemous under Islam ought to be considered blasphemous by everyone everywhere because Islam is - well because Islam is Islam and so everyone ought to obey it. Not everyone is under Islam, but everyone ought to be, so people can't just ignore what's considered blasphemous under Islam, because if they were doing the right thing they would be under Islam. Because Islam ought to be in charge of everything and everyone and telling everyone without exception what to do. And if they won't do it we'll just sue and sue and sue and sue until finally they'll get so bored they'll give in.

Bilal Assaad, Chairman of the Islamic Faith Society, one of several plaintiffs, also lamented the court ruling..."We had hoped that we could put this unfortunate matter behind us and that the High Court would draw the line that establishes the limits of freedom of expression in religious matters."
You see we want the High Court - of Denmark - to draw the line that establishes the limits of freedom of expression in religious matters in a place where we want it to be drawn rather than where the High Court or the people of Denmark or both want it to be drawn. We get to decide these things you see because we are Religious Leaders and in particular we are Muslim Religious Leaders so courts ought to be drawing lines where we say they should be drawn and not anywhere else. Because what we say goes. Can't say fairer than that, can you.

Following the cartoons crisis, Muslims in Denmark and worldwide took many initiatives to remove widely circulated stereotypes about Islam in the West. Danish Muslims established the European Committee for Honoring the Prophet, a grouping of 27 Danish Muslim organizations, to raise awareness about the merits and characteristics of the Prophet.
Ah, did you? I'll tell you something, guys: it's not working. To tell you the truth it's doing the opposite of working. It's marching smartly backwards. The more you try to force me to admire and love the prophet, the more I hate the very word. You might be better off if you could grasp that. A lot of people don't like being told what to think about this or that long-dead religious figure. We even more don't like it when people try to force us to think something in particular about this or that long-dead religious figure. We find it an imposition, and an impertinence, and a species of bullying, and we do not like it. If I were you I would give it up. You're teaching people to hate your religion, not to admire it.

http://westernstandard.blogs.com/shotgun/2008/06/supreme-court-e.html
“I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Voltaire.

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Supreme Court of Canada Decision in Media Defamation Case
Written by Press Release Sunday, 29 June 2008

by British Columbia Civil Liberties Association BCCLA
The BCCLA is encouraged by the Supreme Court of Canada judgment in Simpson v. Mair and WIC Radio, which dismissed an action for defamation against Rafe Mair. The court ruled that the statements at issue were protected by the law as comment.
The BCCLA appeared as an intervenor in the case. Robert D. Holmes, President of the BCCLA comments: "Protection of vigorous debate on matters of public interest and importance is a key value in our democratic society. The court's ruling will go a long way in ensuring that protection."
The BCCLA argued that defamation law had to be clarified to ensure stronger protection for freedom of expression. The court's ruling that "the evolution of the common law is to be informed and guided by Charter values" is a step forward in the common law.
The Supreme Court of Canada, through Mr. Justice Binnie, writing the majority judgment, recognized that the common law must develop consistently with freedom of expression. It is not just opinions we agree with that deserve protection. As the court stated: "We live in a free country where people have as much right to express outrageous
and ridiculous opinions as moderate ones." In the litigation the trial judge said the "sting" of the words Mair used was a meaning that Mair testified he did not mean. The Supreme Court has ruled: "It seems to me that defamation proceedings will have reached a troubling level of technicality if the protection afforded by the defence of fair comment to freedom of expression ("the very lifeblood of our freedom") is made to depend on whether or not the speaker is prepared to swear to an honest belief in something he does
not believe he ever said." The Court said the test for the defence of comment was: "could any [person] honestly express that opinion on the proved facts?" This clarifies the law and provides protection for those who publish comments and opinions of others (for
example, with letters to the editor). The court called this as an objective honest belief standard. We note the concurring judgments of Mr. Justice Lebel and Mr. Justice Rothstein reasoned that the law should protect comments wherever statements made relate to the underlying facts and that the "honest belief" requirement ought not be part of the test. Mr. Justice Rothstein said: "The defence of fair comment should only require the defendant to prove (a) that the statement constituted comment, (b) that it had a basis in true facts and (c) that it concerned a matter of public interest; and these requirements were met in this case. " There is much to be said for this, particularly in protecting satire and humor.
Rafe Mair is an editorialist who on October 25, 1999 broadcast an editorial during a radio show in which he referred to Simpson in comments by name. Mair was the author of the editorial and the host of the Rafe Mair radio show, which was broadcast by WIC and its associates throughout British Columbia and the Yukon.
Source http://pacificfreepress.com/content/view/2778/81/

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This blog is dedicated for ‘Freedom of Expression’, all news and information, posted herein, are collected from mostly electronic media/ online (published) news, maintained and updated by Albert Ashok on behalf of http://rainbowartistsandwritersfoundation.blogspot.com/ a non-profit artists’ and writers’ organization.

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