10/17/2012 08:04 EDT | Updated 12/17/2012 05:12 EST

The Dark Side of Libel Law

Libel: What's the big deal?

A conversation with Philip Slayton and Brian Rogers

How fares freedom of expression in Canada? As part of Non-Speak Week, PEN Canada blogs on the health of that most fundamental of freedoms.

Libel law allows someone to protect his reputation against unfair attack. This seems like a good idea, but Brian Rogers, one of Canada's leading libel lawyers, says that the common law of libel can be "the invisible hand of censorship." Rogers points out that corporations and wealthy individuals may use libel law to discourage journalists and others from critical comment. He argues that public debate and the free flow of information is vital in a democracy, and laws that inhibit free exchange and fair comment should be reformed. In conversation with PEN Canada's Philip Slayton, BrianRogers discusses the state of libel law in Canada and changes that should be made.