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Media & Defamation

Media & Defamation
Media & Defamation

Traditional concepts of media have changed dramatically since the advent of the Internet, which presents risks of defamation, damage to reputation and invasion of privacy on a global scale. Conflicting laws, jurisdictional complexities and varying standards raise challenging legal issues.

Recognized as Canada’s pre-eminent media practice, the Blakes Media & Defamation group represents Canada’s largest daily newspaper, book publishers, broadcasters and many smaller media organizations. Foreign and domestic clients rely on our comprehensive grasp of the legal issues, and our 24-hour accessibility and ability to respond in real time to questions and provide pre-publication advice.

Leading media companies regularly engage us to advise on libel, defamation, privacy, freedom of the press, publication ban, copyright, electronic media and access-to-information issues. We have handled many of the most important media cases before the Supreme Court of Canada in the past decade, including persuading the court to adopt a new defence to libel, responsible communication in the public interest. Our trial and appeal experience is second to none. Blakes clients include the Toronto Star, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and the Canadian Newspaper Association. We have also acted for American media, such as the Washington PostThe New York Times and The Associated Press on litigation in Canada. Our book publisher clients include HarperCollins and Penguin.

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Recent Experience
  • Grant v. Torstar (2009) – in which the court adopted a new libel defence, responsible communication in the public interest

  • Breeden v. Black (2012) – arguing for tighter rules to restrict "libel tourism"

  • Crookes v. Newton (2011) – limiting liability for hyperlinks

  • Bou Malhab v. Diffusion Métromédia CMR inc. (2011) – limiting actions for group libel

  • Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. v. Canada (2010) – dealing with the constitutionality of mandatory publication bans

  • Ontario (Public Safety and Security) v. Criminal Lawyers' Association (2010) – on the right of access to information

  • R. v. Toronto Star (2005) – limiting sealing orders on search warrants

  • R. v. Mentuck (2001) – imposing strict limits on discretionary publication bans

  • ​Successfully represented Israeli-based Haaretz Daily Newspaper Ltd. before the Supreme Court of Canada concerning internet jurisdiction and the alleged defamation of Canadian businessman Mitchell Goldhar

Awards & Recognition

Blakes Media & Defamation lawyers have been recognized as leaders in their field by various surveys including:

  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory

  • The Lexpert Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-border Litigation Lawyers in Canada

  • Legal Media Group's Guide to the World's Leading Technology, Media & Telecommunications Lawyers

  • Benchmark Canada: The Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys