I recently watched this documentary by the CBC’s The Fifth Estate. It was called “The Unmaking of Jian Ghomeshi” which is essentially diving into the whole sex assault scandal story and how people are accusing the CBC of covering it up.
A big point I got out of watching this is how Canadian media law in a way aids in the process of making sure that alleged victims are never heard. There is a part where it interviews a person named Jesse Brown who is a media critic and runs a site called Canada Land. According to this video, the victims went up to him about the whole story and he tried to investigate into it.
Some of the key responses Brown claims was that if he even thought of publishing the story or even ask further questions he would be sued. Even though the story involves a matter of public interest it’s like the law is being used in a way as a weapon to stop people from even investigating the issue.
I am no lawyer and so maybe “legally” a person can sue you all they want in these cases where it will be without success. However, I don’t think anyone would argue that the time and cost of going to court is intimidating to many to the point where it makes more sense to keep quiet. To me, that is fundamentally wrong when people are using it as a way to stop others from uncovering the truth as opposed to using it as a way to protect someone. Pretty much the same reason why I can’t fully share my experience.
It makes me believe that Canadian media law is extremely outdated to the point where it is no longer serving its original intent. In my opinion, there has to be a better categorization between allowing people to get their story out there without fear versus one making up accusations that can clearly be proven as false in a malicious way.
Example, to me if a girl screams out on the street that a certain person raped her then I would think it’s in the community’s best interest to take the allegation seriously and to investigate into it. Basically, everyone can work together to discover the truth.
If the guy can prove that the story is clearly false due to records of her being at a certain place at X time where she insists in ignoring it and continues to accuse him then that is a different story. Like there, that is what I would think media law was intended to protect.
The parts in this documentary about the alleged victims using twitter to partially expose the story in a way shows there is a need to give people the ability to tell their story without the fear that people with more money or power can simply silence them. I understand the flip side of the coin where if these people are simply lying then morally it is wrong to enable them to keep doing so. Like in this example though, how can you even start to investigate it if the media law works against them from doing so? These things need more ways to encourage public participation to discover the truth I think as opposed to lawyers using these kinds of laws as a weapon to stop it.