Legal Word of the Day: “Responsible Communication”

News Media

News Media

“Responsible Communication” — A relatively new defence to defamation, established by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2009.

In Grant v. Torstar Corp., 2008 ONCA 796 (CanLII), the court created the defence of responsible communication on matters of public interest. The defence focuses on the diligent conduct of reporters and editors in trying to verify potentially defamatory information, rather than on the traditional defences of fair comment and true facts.

The defence extends to online reporting, including blogs, Facebook Pages, LinkedIn Groups and websites.

Related Information:
    Shtaif v. Toronto Life Publishing Co. Ltd.
    This decision addresses: how the limitation periods in Ontario’s Libel and Slander Act (LSA) apply to allegedly defamatory Internet publications, rejects applying the American “single publication rule” in Ontario, and clarifies the circumstances when defamation and negligence claims can be brought concurrently.

    Astley v. Verdun, 2013 ONSC 2998 (CanLII)
    “The Defendant is permanently enjoined from disseminating, posting on the Internet or publishing, in any manner whatsoever, directly or indirectly, any statements or comments about the Plaintiff.”

    Kim v. Dongpo News, 2013 ONSC 4426 (CanLII)
    Imputing improper and disreputable conduct to an identifiable person, where it did not exist, is defamatory.

    Libel and Slander Act, RSO 1990, c L.12

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