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Canada: $60,000 fine for blogger who reported on Islamic veil activist

“Québec Superior Court judge Honourable Carole Julien has rendered a decision that will potentially discourage independent journalists from investigating and reporting on stories and personalities of public interest – while giving mainstream media a better level of comfort when producing their own work… as the judge believes such professional media possess ‘quality control mechanisms’.”

Quality control? In the professional media? What this amounts to is an attempt to inhibit and silence voices that dispute establishment media propaganda. The freedom of speech is under assault everywhere in the West today; this is another victory for its foes.

$60,000 fine for blogger who reported on Islamic veil activist,” by Raymond Ayas, The Post Millennial, August 4, 2018:

Québec Superior Court judge Honourable Carole Julien has rendered a decision that will potentially discourage independent journalists from investigating and reporting on stories and personalities of public interest – while giving mainstream media a better level of comfort when producing their own work… as the judge believes such professional media possess “quality control mechanisms”.

Philippe Magnan, an internet blogger promoting the separation of religion and state, was accused of defamation in 2014 by the self-styled feminist activist Dalila Awada, who defended her right to wear Islamic clothing without restrictions at the time the government wanted to legislate on a Charter of Values.

Defendant Magnan was found guilty of defamation in a landmark decision rendered July 10, 2018. He was ordered by Judge Carole Julien to pay the accuser Awada $60,000 plus costs.

In her decision, the judge recognizes that the digital age has changed the relationship citizens have with media. She states that anyone can improvise himself a purveyor of information while being free from “traditional regulatory mechanisms”, leaving the quality of information unchecked and to the discretion of those who convey it.

Furthermore, the judge believes that while consumers are responsible to ensure the quality of information by checking the sources and qualifications of those who propose it, this task is often difficult.

Then comes the shocker… or rather shockers.

The judge then states that no evidence of expertise was offered during this trial concerning the existence of mechanisms guaranteeing that information available “on the web” is real and valid when it comes from “citizens”.

The Tribunal finds these mechanisms still remain in the niche of “professional” journalism. Judge Julien then cites a decision of the Quebec Press Council as an obvious example of such mechanisms in action, and deems that no such mechanism protects Awada against Magnan’s publications. Only the protection afforded by the courts remains.

It seems like this judge wants to save Democracy from Fake News.

Membership to the Quebec Press Council is on a voluntary basis. In fact, Quebecor’s various media are not currently members (I called, asked, and have it on tape). Therefore, Quebecor media does not have to abide by the Council’s disciplinary decisions.

Doesn’t that qualify Journal de Montréal and TVA Nouvelles as “fake news”?

If they’re not bound by a code of ethics – if they’re not willfully submitting to disciplinary action – what makes these two mass media owned by Quebecor any different from independent bloggers?

Judge Julien is certain about one thing though: that our democracies are based on a free press of quality, among other things. That’s a direct quote (translated) from paragraph 239 of her judgment cited above. In the same paragraph:

Sites that swarm in the margins of  quality control mechanisms are likely to spread false news, unverified theories without foundations. The dissemination of false information is a greater danger than the muzzling of the press for our democracies. A good example of this prejudice lies in the factual background of this case.

So, the problem is the facts…

There are three ways to defame someone, as set out by the Supreme Court judgment of Prud’homme vs Prud’homme, quoted by Judge Julien:

I researched a sample of what Magnan produced. From what I saw, this guy is sharp. His work appeared to be equal to or better than any investigative reporting I’ve seen, ever. I’m not contradicting the judge though. I do not have any training in law or journalism, and I did not appreciate the entirety of the evidence like the Honourable Carole Julien could.

However, the judge does recognize that Magnan spent a significant amount – if not all – of his time and energies on this matter. This bars the second situation – not doing enough research.

Although it is possible that Magnan is a complete idiot. He may have researched extensively in good faith, while (being a total idiot) incorrectly interpreting his own discoveries.

Idiot or not, by doing the research he does not qualify for defamation as per situation #2.

It’s not situation #3, either. That case assumes not having a valid reason for spreading nasty truths about someone. He did. That’s because Bill 60 had been tabled by the Quebec government, and that bill specifically addressed the issue of wearing the veil in public (while voting, taking a picture for state-issued identification, etc.). The issue was definitely of public interest, and Awada was the poster-girl for the pro-veil camp. Fair game.

That leaves only one choice: malicious intent to harm knowing that one is spreading lies.

In her ruling, the judge determined that Magnan’s articles were full of lies and half-truths, went beyond the scope of public discussion, attacked Awada personally, and repeatedly discredited and humiliated her.

Bingo.

There’s a fair bit of truth in what he reported. I checked it out. I’m not disagreeing with the judge; like I said, I didn’t research everything. There must be a thousand articles to read in there. I picked what caught my eye. Major things, I think.

Magnan related the following verifiable facts:

Awada admitted participating in what Magnan alleged but claimed she did it only for the social aspects, and argued she did not pledge allegiance to fundamentalist groups. The judge acknowledges this in paragraph 31 of her judgment.

In essence, Magnan connected Awada with Shiite Islamic fundamentalists and their networks, and the judge took offense to that.

In addition, Magnan considered Awada to be a “midinette” of the Islamic veil. In English, “midinette” translates to “silly young girl”. Although Magnan believes the plaintiff to be sincere in her desire to please God by wearing the veil, he maintains she is being used as an unwitting poster girl of Islam by hidden forces promoting Sharia.

Magnan’s question “who are the the turbans behind these veils” is symbolic of his purpose: to expose the Islamic power networks operating in Quebec by discovering the relationships between few but very influential people.

Clearly, Magnan believes that submitting Western women to the Islamic veil is an easier sell when it comes from a pretty young woman. That she is too naïve to see it makes the sell even more convincing. The judge found this qualification humiliating and sexist….

Read the rest here.

Source: Jihad Watch

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