The Unfulfilled Promise of Press Freedom in Canada

The Unfulfilled Promise of Press Freedom in Canada

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Edited by Lisa Taylor and Cara-Marie O’Hagan
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2017
World Rights
296 Pages
ISBN 9781487520243
Published Mar 2017
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ISBN 9781487500375
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ebook (EPUB format)
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Canadian news reports are riddled with accounts of Access to Information requests denied and government reports released with large swaths of content redacted.

The Unfulfilled Promise of Press Freedom in Canada offers a vast array of viewpoints that critically analyze the application and interpretation of press freedom under the Charter of Rights. This collection, assiduously put together by editors Lisa Taylor and Cara-Marie O’Hagan, showcases the insights of leading authorities in law, journalism, and academia as well as broadcasters and public servants. The contributors explore the ways in which press freedom has been constrained by outside forces, like governmental interference, threats of libel suits, and financial constraints. These intersectional and multifaceted lines of inquiry provide the reader with a 360-degree assessment of press freedom in Canada while discouraging complacency among Canadian citizens. After all, an informed citizenry is a free citizenry.

Lisa Taylor, a former lawyer, is a faculty member in the School of Journalism at Ryerson University. She spent more than a decade as a CBC Radio & Television journalist where her work was recognized by the Gemini Awards, the Atlantic Journalism Awards, and the B’nai Brith Media Human Rights Awards.

Cara-Marie O’Hagan is the director of policy for the office of the Ontario Minister of Finance. She is formerly the director of the Ryerson Law Research Centre.

Introduction: Press Freedom in Canada
Lisa Taylor

Part I: Press Freedom and Internal Pressures

Chapter 1: The Real Danger to Press Freedom
Tony Burman

Chapter 2: Exploring How Emerging Digital Business Models and Journalistic Innovation May Influence Freedom of the Press
Leigh Felesky

Chapter 3: Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation and Freedom of the Press in Canada
Normand Landry

Chapter 4: Process Journalism and Responsible Communication: Establishing Real-Time Reporting Practices that Defend Against Defamation
Tim Currie

Chapter 5: Freedom of Expression, Entertainment, Hate Speech, and Defamation: Where Do We Draw the Line?
Anne-Marie Gingras

Part II: Press Freedom and Court Processes

Chapter 6: Free Expression at Thirty – The Search for Respect
Daniel Henry

Chapter 7: Has Dagenais-Mentuck Seen Its High-Water Mark?
Ryder Gilliland

Chapter 8: How the Criminal Code "Protects" Sexual Assault Complainants from Themselves and Constrains Their Participation in the News Media
Lisa Taylor

Chapter 9: Must News Reporters Be Guerilla Lawyers to Protect Their Rights? Covering the Canadian Justice System in Small Communities
Robert Koopmans

Part III: Press Freedom and Institutional Secrecy

Chapter 10: Freedom of Information: How Accountability to the Public Is Denied
Fred Vallance-Jones

Chapter 11: Municipal Access to Information, Delays, and Denials: An Insider’s View
Suzanne Craig

Chapter 12: Unfettered Social Media versus Government Censorship: Mona Eltahawy’s Twitter Escape as a Test Case for Press Freedom
Gavin Adamson

Chapter 13: Media Whining or Democratic Crisis? How Institutional Secrecy Is Contextualized in National Newspapers
Bruce Gillespie

Part IV: Press Freedom and the Charter

Chapter 14: Section 2(b)’s Other Fundamental Freedom: The Press Guarantee, 1982–2012
Jamie Cameron

Chapter 15: The View from Down Under: Freedom of the Press in Canada
James Allan

Conclusion: Use It or Lose It: Do Canadians Deserve Press Freedom?
Ivor Shapiro



"The Unfulfilled Promise of Press Freedom in Canada addresses press freedom from the perspective of people who are on the front lines, who are in the trenches fighting for press freedom. That’s a perspective that scholars ensconced in their ivory towers seldom encounter. The volume will be of interest to lots of people. The topics are fresh, the questions innovative, and the writing is very accessible."

David Pritchard, Department of Journalism, Advertising, and Media Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

"The Unfulfilled Promise of Press Freedom in Canada is candid and thoughtful. It belongs in every journalism school library. It casts a wide net in asking why media fight [for a freer press], and more interestingly, why some don’t."

Holly Doan, Blacklocks Reporter, April 1, 2017