CAJ APPLAUDS COURT DECISION LIMITING GROUP LIBEL

OTTAWA, Feb. 17 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of Journalists is pleased the Supreme Court has rejected a case that could have rewritten libel laws and restricted free speech. 

At issue are derogatory comments made in 1998 by a Montreal radio host about Arab and Haitian taxi drivers. The Supreme Court found that ordinary people wouldn't have believed the outrageous comments and that individual members of the group could not prove personal injury. The decision reinforces the court's unwillingness to allow group libel.

"This case might have set a huge precedent that would have damaged free speech in Canada," said CAJ President Mary Agnes Welch. "Generalizations about a group might be offensive or racist, but they shouldn't be used to dramatically expand the scope of libel laws." 

The CAJ, along with several other media organisations, intervened in the case.

The CAJ is Canada's largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing about 800 members across the country. The CAJ's primary roles are to provide high-quality professional development for its members and public-interest advocacy.

SOURCE Canadian Association of Journalists

For further information:

Mary Agnes Welch, CAJ president (204) 697-7590, cell (204) 470-8862


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