Freedom of expression includes freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication.
When government actors are allowed to decide which opinions can be expressed and which cannot, an open, vibrant and diverse society quickly breaks down. Similarly, when our court system is used to silence those with unpopular views or those who oppose powerful actors, we all lose the opportunity to hear all sides of an issue and come to our own conclusions. Freedom of expression is the right to speak, but also the right to hear. Informed political debate requires that this right be strongly protected, and it is only through free expression that individuals can take action to ensure that our governing institutions are held accountable.
Restrictions on freedom of expression come in many forms including Criminal Code and Human Rights provisions limiting hate speech, municipal by-laws that regulate signage or where protests may take place, civil defamation (libel) actions, and restrictions placed on press freedoms. With more and more communication taking place online, government restrictions on access to the internet and the content and filtering policies of private companies also place limits on free expression. We work to ensure that any limits are reasonable and strictly necessary.
Click here to check out our current freedom of speech case.
When attempting to shed light on possible political corruption in Quebec, Marie-Maude kept getting pressured by a former politician to reveal her sources, as he believed them to be government officials conspiring against him. She had appeared on television four times reporting on the possible corruption based on information she received from confidential journalistic sources.
This was the first time the Court looked at new rules to protect journalists’ confidential sources, and we were there to ensure press freedom was protected.
Protecting press freedom is crucial to democracy. We believe that the press should be able to protect confidential sources and the Supreme Court decision recognizes that protecting these sources should be the rule, not the exception.
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