Posts Tagged ‘free speech in Canada’

Free speech roundup

  • Sequel to Driehaus case on penalizing inaccurate campaign speech: “A Final Goodbye to Ohio’s Ministry of Truth” [Ilya Shapiro, Cato; earlier here, here]
  • FCC commissioner Ajit Pai: U.S. tradition of free expression slipping away [Washington Examiner]
  • Québécois comedian Mike Ward is already out $100,000 in legal fees after discovering how CHRC can stand for Crushes Humor, Ruins Comedy [Gavin McInnes, The Federalist]
  • 10th Circuit free speech win: Colorado can’t shackle small-group speech against ballot measure [Coalition for Secular Government v. Williams, earlier]
  • New York Times goes after publisher of “War Is Beautiful” book: are picture thumbnails fair use? [Virginia Postrel, earlier]
  • Constitutional? Not quite: Illinois bill would ban posting “video of a crime being committed” “with the intent to promote or condone that activity” [Eugene Volokh]

International free expression roundup

  • More on Venezuela suit in U.S. against Dolar Today, publication that reports black market exchange rates [WSJ, earlier]
  • Sehr vorsichtig: “nearly half of all Germans are afraid to voice their opinion about the refugee crisis” [Malte Lehming, National Interest via Andrew Stuttaford]
  • Professor in Norway calls for “statutory ban on climate denialism.” [Steven T. Corneliussen/Physics Today, background]
  • Scottish newspaper The National to endorse criminalizing “hate speech against women” [@ScotNational] Feminist groups in Scotland and Australia call for legal action to prevent meetups of followers of “pick-up artist” and general-purpose boor Dariush Valizadeh [Sydney Morning Herald]
  • Debate on whether Donald Trump should be allowed to enter Great Britain because he sounds too much like a Kipper “exposes the hypocrisy of those who seem the most indignant” [Ian O’Doherty] Maryam Namazie case too: “On both sides of the Atlantic, there has been a noticeable shift toward a more censorious culture.” [Kenan Malik] Make a point of defending free expression and you’ll wind up cozy with odd ducks “simply because it’s the right thing to do” [Ian O’Doherty]
  • On anniversary of Charlie Hebdo massacre, two more pieces serve to correct the Garry Trudeau view of the French magazine [Robert McLiam Wilson, Adam Gopnik]
  • Toronto man found not guilty in widely watched Twitter harassment trial [National Post, earlier]

Free speech roundup

  • “Denver DA charges man with tampering for handing out jury nullification flyers” [Denver Post, earlier New York case covered here, here, here, etc.] More: Tim Lynch, Cato.
  • Occupational licensure vs. the First Amendment: Texas regulators seek to shutter doc’s veterinary advice website [Ilya Shapiro, Cato]
  • Fired for waving rebel flag? Unlikely to raise a First Amendment issue unless you work for the government, or it twisted your employer’s arm [Huntsville (Ala.) Times, Daniel Schwartz]
  • “Twitter joke thieves are getting DMCA takedowns” [BoingBoing]
  • A reminder of Gawker’s jaw-droppingly bad stuff on freedom of speech (“Arrest Climate Change Deniers”) [Coyote, related]
  • Canadian lawyer/journalist Ezra Levant facing discipline proceeding “for being disrespectful towards a government agency” [Financial Post, earlier]
  • “‘Shouting fire in a theater’: The life and times of constitutional law’s most enduring analogy” [Carlton Larson via Eugene Volokh, also Christopher Hitchens on the analogy]

Free speech roundup

  • Eugene Volokh weighs in again on Oregon Sweet Cakes case, agrees with my view that agency’s order against Melissa and Aaron Klein’s speech is overbroad;
  • Canada: “Ruling in Twitter harassment trial could have enormous fallout for free speech” [Christie Blatchford/National Post, earlier]
  • Also in Canada: Law Society of Alberta cites controversial-speech veteran Ezra Levant, a lawyer, over column criticizing human rights commission [National Post]
  • “Lawyer Can’t Unmask Anonymous Critic on Avvo, Court Rules” [Robert Ambrogi]
  • “Couple ordered to pay $280K for ‘frivolous’ lawsuit against Hoboken bloggers, judge says” [Jersey Journal via @NJCivilJustice]
  • Las Vegas lawyer’s libel suit provokes laughs but there’s a serious point at stake [Adam Steinbaugh, Popehat]
  • “Freedom will not bow to bloody attacks”: legislature in Iceland repeals blasphemy law in response to Paris massacre [IB Times] But Charlie Hebdo itself, in Paris, says it will run no more prophet Muhammad cartoons [WaPo and more: Michael Moynihan, Politico Europe]

“In the name of equality and fraternity, liberty has been curtailed in France.”

Jonathan Turley in the Washington Post explores at more length a point I made briefly in my TIME opinion piece: to honor the slain cartoonists of Charlie-Hebdo, we should be lifting legal constraints on what their successors tomorrow can draw and write and say, rather than, as France and other countries have been doing in recent years, bringing it under tighter legal constraint in the name of equality and the prevention of offense:

Indeed, if the French want to memorialize those killed at Charlie Hebdo, they could start by rescinding their laws criminalizing speech that insults, defames or incites hatred, discrimination or violence on the basis of religion, race, ethnicity, nationality, disability, sex or sexual orientation. These laws have been used to harass the satirical newspaper and threaten its staff for years.

The numerous court actions brought against Charlie Hebdo by religious groups (as of 2011, organizations connected with the Catholic church had taken the magazine to court 13 times, Muslim groups once) are only the beginning:

[Other] cases have been wide-ranging and bizarre. In 2008, for example, Brigitte Bardot was convicted for writing a letter to then-Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy about how she thought Muslims and homosexuals were ruining France. In 2011, fashion designer John Galliano was found guilty of making anti-Semitic comments against at least three people in a Paris cafe. In 2012, the government criminalized denial of the Armenian genocide (a law later overturned by the courts, but Holocaust denial remains a crime). …Last year, Interior Minister Manuel Valls moved to ban performances by comedian Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala, declaring that he was “no longer a comedian” but was rather an “anti-Semite and racist.” It is easy to silence speakers who spew hate or obnoxious words, but censorship rarely ends with those on the margins of our society….

Recently, speech regulation in France has expanded into non-hate speech, with courts routinely intervening in matters of opinion. For example, last year, a French court fined blogger Caroline Doudet and ordered her to change a headline to reduce its prominence on Google — for her negative review of a restaurant.

Related: National Post and Jacob Gershman, WSJ Law Blog, on efforts to repeal Canada’s not-entirely-in-disuse blasphemy law; earlier here and here. And from Ireland, an urgent reason to repeal its own law of this sort: Muslim leader vows to “take legal advice if Irish publications …republish or tweet cartoons.” [Irish Times, Irish Examiner, Independent]

P.S. Graham Smith on Twitter: “What if every State represented in Paris today promised to repeal one law that restricts free speech?”

Free speech roundup

  • “Money spent trying to spread a political message is speech, whether you like the message or not.” [Michael Kinsley on McCutcheon v. FEC, earlier]
  • “Letter: Ken Avidor on Being Silenced By a Defamation Suit” [Romenesko]
  • “Canada’s first Twitter harassment trial has taken a strange twist.” [Christie Blatchford, National Post]
  • In union leader’s defamation suit, Philadelphia court orders anonymous commenter unmasked [CBS Philly]
  • New Jersey ruling letting parents be sued over kids’ Facebook posts will chill speech [Hans Bader/CEI, earlier]
  • More dispatches from Michael Mann-Mark Steyn litigation showdown [Steyn, Charles Cooke] Bonus: Steyn on Andrew Bolt case in Australia and on Nevada protests’ “First Amendment Area” (“The ‘First Amendment Area’ is supposed to be something called ‘the United States’.”)
  • “True-crime author Ann Rule’s suit against Seattle Weekly tossed” [KING]

Canada: “Man ordered to pay panhandler $8,000 for discrimination”

“A Montreal man has been ordered to pay $8,000 to a panhandler after an email he wrote complaining about her presence outside a liquor store was deemed discriminatory by the province’s human rights commission. … The SAQ [Quebec provincial liquor store operator] then made the decision to share the letter with the woman, who was advised by the police to file a complaint with the commission.” [CBC]

Leading wind turbine company sues Ontario critic

Esther Wrightman, who opposes the construction of wind turbines near her Ontario home, made some YouTube videos taking a dim view of NextEra, a leading wind-power company. Now the company is suing her, alleging among other things that she infringed on its intellectual property rights by publishing satirical altered versions of its logo. [Ezra Levant, Sun; Bayshore Broadcasting]