22 December 2009

The Written Word Round-up

1.  Rewriting the rules of defamation.  The Supreme Court of Canada hands down a landmark ruling on two defamation cases and in the process changes the country’s defamation rules.

The defence will operate in favour of the media outlet, “if it can establish that it acted responsibly in attempting to verify the information in a matter of public interest,” Chief Justice McLachlin wrote.

“The public interest test is clearly met here, as the Canadian public has a vital interest in knowing about the professional misdeeds of those who are entrusted by the state with protecting public safety,” Chief Justice McLachlin said. "The defendants' liability therefore hinges on whether they were diligent in trying to verify the allegations prior to publication, and it will be for the jury at a new trial to decide whether the articles met this standard of responsibility.”

2.  But did he have to ask where he left his own sock puppets?  A Quebec writer reveals that she has been writing a blog under a male nom de plume and doing better at it financially than under her own name.

3. But how will the great unwashed masses know what is true if reporters and editors do not tell them?  Yet another conventional journalist raises questions about the wild and uncontrolled world of the Internet:

Seeing as how information dissemination has become so easy, a lot of information might reach millions of people unfiltered. While this provides a great opportunity for the truth to reach millions, we may also be flooded by faulty, incomplete and outright wrong information, as well as malicious attack and some plain lies.

Amazingly enough people might cope just as they have coped with “faulty, incomplete and outright wrong information” in the conventional media.  Heck, they might even find stories that never get covered at all by the conventional media even though they are entirely true.

They might even manage to find a personal relationship with accurate information that does not require the intervention of self-appointed High Priests.