Deborah Gyapong: Media lawyers conference bars media

Media lawyers conference bars media

Okay. So I went up to the Chateau Laurier hotel in Ottawa to attend the Canadian Media Lawyers` Convention, where Ezra Levant is going to participate on a panel concerning human rights commissions tomorrow.

It`s a great lineup. But I got turned away at the door. They don`t want any media coverage.
Say what? The people we hope will be defending the media against encroachments on freedom of the press want to hold their meeting behind closed doors?

Today I hoped to hear Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin`s keynote speech on libel and various panels on libel chill, and what the conference bills as ``The New Fair Comment Defense`` in the Supreme`s Rafe Mair v. Kari Simpson case. While Ezra thinks the case expands fair comment, I am among the doubters who thinks it merely signals that the most unreasonable hallmarks of hate (see sec. f.iii) can be used against conservative Christians and that`s fair comment, but try it against any other group and the fair comment options suddenly shrink dramatically.

Tomorrow I hoped to hear Michael Geist on `The New Media--Perils of the Internet` and of course the closing panel featuring Ezra, Mark Freiman and Julian Porter who will go down in history books for saying:

"Against the argument that you cannot cry fire in a crowded theatre: 'Oh
yes you can — you must, if in your considered view there is a fire'.""In that
case there is a duty to cry fire."--Julian Porter, Robson Square, Vancouver ,
June 6, 2008 Closing arguments in the show trial against Maclean's



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