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Petition Proposal

Page history last edited by PBworks 17 years, 12 months ago

A Petition to Legislate Freedom of Speech Online


Petition Objectives

*can be circulated in an email campaign (awareness raising)

*signatories can give permssion to be contacted about this issue in the future

*articulate an alternative to current libel laws

*material for press kit at roundtable





We, the undersigned residents of Canada, draw attention of the House to the following:




*Canada's laws for libel and slander are ill adapted for modern technologies

*21st century communications technology now allows citizens anywhere in the world, to freely communicate directly with each other with an immediacy and (comprehensiveness?) only possible by owners of commercial print and broadcast media.

*The CRTC has overseen the ongoing concentration of broadcast media and print media outlets into a handful corporate entities

*An expanding industry of online news providers serve niche markets and communities in ways that major media cannot.

*Given the increased use of electronic communications to encompass almost all aspects of interpersonal communication.

*Electronic communications now encompass "personal" online discussions that are very unlike the "publications" libel laws are intended to address.

*The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees freedom of speech and a free press.


The undersigned hold:


THAT Freedom of Expression by means of electronic communication, including email, weblog, and other messaging services should receive equal protections under the law as public speech on our streets, our meeting halls and public assemblies. (treat all cyberlibel as slander - remove the reverse onus, continual publication and aggravated damages)


THAT in all cases publishers of online content who provide a "right of equal reply" shall not be held liable for defamatory content they did not cause to be published.


THAT Canadian courts shall only have jurisdiction over


a) websites with Canadian owners

b) the .ca domain

c) websites directed specifically to a canadian audience

d) content whose original source is a Canadian resident


THAT a person accused of defamation is in all circumstances, presumed innocent until proven otherwise.


ACCORDINGLY, your petitioners call upon parliament to immediately take steps to ensure a cross-provincial group is formed to guarantee:


THAT a uniform Defamation Act is adopted across the country which remedies the archaic aspects of the existing law so the onus is placed squarely on plaintiffs to show they have been defamed, and which effectively prevents the abuse of defamation law by those seeking merely to silence criticism or to unmask anonymous critics.


THAT it is the right of defendants to anonymous until such time as defamation has been proven in court; and


THAT the Criminal Code offense of "defamatory libel" is repealed.

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