MONTREAL, Dec. 5, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - Facing a $350,000 lawsuit filed by Journal de Montréal columnist Richard Martineau, independent media outlet Ricochet today launched a crowdfunding campaign to defend against this attempt to force the non-profit organization into bankruptcy.
"This lawsuit seems designed to drain Ricochet of financial resources until it can no longer operate," said Derrick O'Keefe, an editor with Ricochet's English edition. "Just this year we've seen big money lawsuits target and even destroy media outlets, like the Gawker case in the United States."
"Every lawyer we've consulted has advised us that we have a strong defence. However, the costs of defending against this malicious action could drive us out of business, which is, of course, the real goal."
Martineau is suing Ricochet over a satirical piece written in French that poked fun at his polemical style. Written by Marc-André Cyr and illustrated by Alexandre Fatta, who are also named in the lawsuit, the text was published in February 2016.
"Mr. Martineau seems not to understand that by entering the public arena, he opened himself up to criticism and disagreement," said Gabrielle Brassard-Lecours, an editor with Ricochet's French edition.
"He cherishes freedom of the press when it serves his needs, but cannot stand to see it used by others to express their disagreement with his ideas. The Quebec Press Council dismissed a complaint over this same article as unfounded, and now Mr. Martineau is asking the court to intervene. Is he trying to silence us?"
Numerous complaints have been lodged against Martineau over the years with the Quebec Press Council. In two separate decisions upholding complaints against the columnist, the council found he had used "discriminatory words and expressions of prejudice" towards Muslims and others.
Ricochet is a bilingual, independent media outlet founded in 2014 after a crowdfunder raised over $83,000. Its primary source of funding remains monthly donations from readers.
The crowdfunding page will be available as of Monday morning at ricochet.media/en.
For further information: Interviews : Ethan Cox, Co-founder and editor - English edition, 514-662-0070; Gabrielle Brassard-Lecours, Co-founder and editor - French edition, 514-967-0091; Derrick O'Keefe, Co-founder and editor - English edition, 604-803-6927