OTTAWA, Sept. 28, 2012 /CNW/ -The Canadian Association of Journalists
welcomes the Supreme Court of Canada ruling that allows some of the
false Facebook information relating to a cyber bullied teenager to be
reported, as long as it doesn't identify the victim.
The CAJ, along with several other media partners, intervened in the
Supreme Court of Canada case that led to Thursday's decision. In its April 2012 brief to the Supreme Court, the media coalition
strongly urged the judges to place no restrictions on what can and
cannot be reported in open court.
We wanted no publication ban on the victim's name, nor on what the false
Facebook page actually said.
In the case, known as A.B. vs. Bragg, the judges ruled unanimously
Thursday to uphold a 17-year-old girl from Nova Scotia's request to
remain anonymous and be known only by her initials while she and her
family pursue a defamation claim against the people who set up a false
Facebook account that contained highly sexualized statements about her.
"The CAJ recognizes that bullying in the social media world can be
harmful to vulnerable young people, but we feared that it opens up a
dangerous precedent for a court to place a publication ban on publicly
accessible online information, without requiring the victims to
actually show specific ways in which any publicity would harm them,"
CAJ president Hugo Rodrigues said. "There is a corresponding public
interest in an important story being reported in a way that captures
the audience's attention. In order for the case to contribute to public
debate, the public must find out about it."
Our CAJ Ethics Guidelines, which are a must read for newsrooms across the country, do touch on
several key issues involved in the reporting of this and similar cases,
especially when it comes to interviewing minors and the use of social
Journalists are increasingly using social networking sites to access
information about people and organizations. When individuals post and
publish information about themselves on these sites, this information
generally becomes public, and can be used. Even when such information
is public, we must rigorously apply ethical considerations including
independent confirmation and transparency in identifying the source of
The Canadian Association of Journalists is a professional organization
with hundreds of members across Canada. The CAJ's primary roles are
public-interest advocacy work and professional development for its
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SOURCE: Canadian Association of Journalists
For further information:
Hugo Rodrigues, CAJ president - 519-756-2020 ext. 2226, 519-535-8680 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org