Freedom of the press, a fundamental freedom under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, is the right of media to gather, publish, and distribute information and ideas without government restriction, censorship, or prior restraint. The ability of journalists to report freely on matters of public interest is crucial to a genuinely democratic society.
When extremists grab the spotlight, journalists face tough news choices. The question isn't free expression. It's how to do needed reporting while avoiding amplification. A consensus is forming on how to tread that line.
Well, hello again. Having ended last month's column with a candid appeal for readers to "talk back" about free speech, I was grateful to those who took me at my word. They made me think new thoughts, which is, of course, the whole idea.
As we have seen in recent elections and in the present pandemic, misinformation can do real harm. But the Canadian government’s plan to consider legislation to criminalize the spreading of misinformation is the wrong response. Criminalization will not stop misinformation. In fact, it often draws more attention to it, as well as undermines civil liberties and human rights essential in a democratic society.