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Class 5&6 February.docx

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Carleton University
Communication Studies
COMM 2501
Klaus Pohle

Class 5 & 6 – February 3 The Plaintiff’s Case Identification - Libel must be of an identifiable individual - Only person libelled can sue - Can’t libel large groups or classes of people - Identification can be by small group - Can’t libel the dead - Ontario class proceedings - Publications don’t just mean the conventional media – also connects about all kinds of social media, internet publications – when talking about defamatory and putting down someone’s reputation - If a person is being named in a publication then it should be the exact details must be accurate because if there are mistakes then there is a chance that it is wrong information and the person could be humiliated in society (the case study in the text book about a terrorist who was being written about in a paper and when the picture was shown they by accidentally put the picture of the lawyer and the lawyer was humiliated in society even after the mistake was made clear and apologies were publically said. ) - Must be accurate and have correct names, pictures, or anything that identifies and applies to that person or even different people that are connected with that person, they are liable and you can be sued if wrongly identify – questioning character of a certain person or group. Identification isn’t always as simple as it sounds – because it can cause a lot of serious problems if the identity is rushed. - Only the person who has been libeled can sue. - If a group of people want to sue for libel, each and every single one of those people ,must be libeled, if so then each of those individuals can sue. - If to sue as a group it has to be that each and every single person must be identified as a body or class of persons – when talking about a comment on citizens of an area – cannot be libeled because they it was not an injury to an individual’s character and reputation. That is why it does not fall under the Ontario class proceedings act because there is no specific identification in a larger group. - Individuals sue as individuals. Defamation - In law (judge) and in fact (jury) - (objective test) When the judge decides that something is capable of being defamatory in law that they have the ability to ruin a reputation and that the jury comes to the decision from the indication of evidence that the said words are defamatory and are capable of defamatory towards an individual then it is convicted. - Some words in law are capable of being defamatory which are automatic libels, if you allege that someone is connected with a criminal act (calling someone a pedo, or a murderer) than there is no question about it being defamatory because it is capable of running a reputation in society. Prima facie defamatory - Not only interested in the words said but who the words are directed against, also the context of the publication, how the meaning of words change over time in different social context. Must keep in mind how people derive a certain phrase or word. For example the word ‘gay’ some see that word as a way to say that a person is overly happy or some see it as a way to describe a homosexual. - Defamatory can also be identified in calling someone gay when they are straight. - The jury decides whether or not the words are capable of being defamatory towards the specific plaintiff in that specific case. In law – subjective test - Whether ordinary reader would interpret the message as lowering the reputation of the plaintiff in the eyes of others in the community - Allegations of criminal behaviour, sexual misconduct or impropriety, or other immoral behaviour are prima facie defamatory - Context of defamatory allegation - Effect on people generally, average citizens – not special interest groups In fact – objective test - Jury decides based on defences pleaded evidence at trial - Words that may be capable of being defamatory in law may not be in a particular case The plaintiff’s case Defamatory innuendo - The publication on its face is correct and true but - Implies misconduct or wrong – doing - Applies to words and pictures etc. - Example: Jane Doe doesn’t beat her husband on Sundays. “Red flag” allegations - Criminal conduct - Sexual impropriety or other immoral behaviour - “loathsome” disease - Professional misconduct or incompetence in one’s trade and or business - Poverty or financial irresponsibility - Disgraceful or unusual behaviour Defamatory words? - Harry smith of 100 bly st. is a member of the mafia. - Joe’s morality varies with the weather - The bespectacled elederly man, who usually wears green swimming trunks with white polka dots, and a black bathing cap, sits on the edge of the Carleton swimming pool, ogling young girls. - Ben Affleck can’t act - The lawyers in the law firm of Oglethorpe and smith are bunglers - Tom cruise is gay - A photo of a man and woman with the caption “lovers” - Ben Affleck is a terrible actor. Most of the time he’s either drunk or high on drugs. Class 6 Legal limitations arising out of private rights Civil Defamation Cases  Syms v. Warren  In the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench, (1976) 71 D.L.R. (3 ) 558d  Vogel v. The Canadian Broadcasting Corp., Bird and Good  In the Supreme Court of British Columbia, (1982) 3 W.W.R. 97  Banks v. Globe and Mail nd  In the Supreme Court of Canada, (1961), 28 D.L.R. (2 ) 343  Jerome Wiley v. The Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd., Beland
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