Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Presentation: Cyber-bullying, the law and the courts (and freedom of expression)

I was invited to speak to journalism students at the University of King's College about Cyber-bullying, the law, freedom of expression and the courts. This is the second year I've been asked to give such a presentation and I focused on the problems created by laws that are drafted and passed during very emotional times. The Nova Scotia Cyber-safety Act is a perfect example of such a law: When it was introduced, I was quoted in the media as saying it was likely unconstitutional as an unreasonable infringement on our Charter rights to freedom of expression. The Premier of the province at the time, Darryl Dexter, responded to my critique by saying that he could not disagree with me more. Since that quote hurt my feelings and was published online, it fit within the grossly overbroad definition of cyberbullying contained in the statute he was responsible for. Which only just proves my point, since an honest opinion on a matter of public interest (particularly legislation) should never be made unlawful in our free and democratic society.

In any event, it was a pleasure to give the presentation and to speak with the very engaged students. In case the materials are of interest, here is the presentation:

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