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.
I will simply say that the reason the Conservatives should want government scientists to speak freely to journalists is because it is in their -- the present government's -- profound self interest. They want to be able to say to the Canadian people when something with deep scientific rooting screws up in a major way: Don't just blame us.
We have reached a critical juncture where choices and decisions made now could tilt the evolution of the network media ecology in Canada toward a more closed, surveilled and centralized regime instead of an open one that strives to put as much of the internet's capabilities into as many people's hands as possible.
A recent global assessment of right to information (or access to information) laws placed Canada 55th out of the 93 countries with RTI laws. Despite this poor track record, Canadians have demonstrated little enthusiasm for the issue. If Canada were in 55th place on other human rights issues -- such as women's equality, freedom of expression, discrimination or privacy -- there is little doubt that Canadians would be outraged.
While you're reading this, nearly two million employees are busy trying to make our world a little bit better through their work at Canada's more than eighty thousand registered charitable organizations. Until recently, few of us have had a reason to think about charities beyond the value of their good works. However, a deep chill has settled upon Canada's non-profit sector as a result of a federal initiative to ensure that the Canada Revenue Agency more rigorously monitors the activities of charitable organizations.
Where to start with this... "book." One uses the term hesitantly, if not reluctantly, since books are made out of paper and exist as something concrete one can hold in one's hands and smack stupid people with across the face. Yet since What To Do About Them (more on this misleading, histrionic title later) is essentially a computer file, available for free download from its eponymous website, one wonders how these 40,000-odd words qualify as more than a PDF'd blog-post.
PEN has become uneasy with how freedom of expression is faring at home. Like many other groups, we've monitored the current federal government, and noted a tendency towards excessive secrecy and a wish to control information, dalliances with censorship and internet surveillance, among other things.