Liable for Libel?

With technology and social media making it so accessible for people and corporations to spread false news about each other, what does this mean for the law?

Coming into force in 1990, the Ontario Libel and Slander Act serves to protect individuals against potentiation defamation. However, over the years, issues have arisen in regards to what certain definitions in this act mean, given the trend of technological advancements.

Most recently, the court clarified what exactly newspaper means in the Act through the case John v Ballingall. As per this decision, online newspaper is in fact a “newspaper”, and therefore does fall under this definition within the Libel & Slander Act.

However, the court’s interpretation of newspaper still leaves open what exactly can be done when an online entity, blogger, and/or website undergoes defamatory action, and whether these entities could themselves fall under the definition of a newspaper. 

What do you think? Are the courts leaning more towards protecting the freedom of the press or the protection of individuals against defamatory acts?


Read more about John v Ballingall.

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