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Internet libel has same potential for harm as mass media broadcasts: Ontario judge

News | 05/01/2003 4:00 am EDT
An Ontario Superior Court of Justice judge has made a confusing but landmark decision in a case over whether the Internet can be defined as broadcasting for the purpose of libel law. On April 2, Justice Helen Pierce ruled that the Internet is broadcasting within the meaning of Ontario’s Libel and Slander Act in the case of Elaine Bahlieda vs. Orville Santa. The finding means that victims of slander or libel on the web will have to move more quickly than previously to take action, but that the potential damages are much higher. While some have applauded the decision, others are concerned that the reasoning in the case was muddy, and that confusion might arise between definitions in such legislation as Ontario’s Libel and Slander Act and the federal Broadcasting Act.

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