Guitouni c. Societe Radio-Canada
From Ad IDEM / CMLA
June 12, 2003
The Supreme Court of Canada refused Mr. Guitouni leave to appeal the Quebec Court of Appeal's substantial reduction of his damage award against Radio-Canada.
The Court of Appeal acknowledged the right of journalists to express opinions on matters of public interest in news stories, and re-stated the fair comment test in Quebec to ensure courts permit defence of opinions that they may not share. The Court of Appeal stated the applicable test as requiring proof of the following: 1) the existence of public interest, 2) the intention to serve a just cause, and 3) the honest expression of an opinion. For the third element of the test, Quebec courts traditionally required the opinion to be "reasonably tenable respecting the facts presented". While Quebec courts continue to use this latter phrase, they now analyze it so that they don't substitute their opinion for that of the speaker.