7. The Chronicle Herald Faces a New Choice

Back in the spring of 2013, reporter Selena Ross had written the Chronicle Herald’s first article about Rehtaeh. Ross’s coverage that year included several award-winning, in-depth analysis articles about mishandled police investigations and the actions of the school board in relation to the victim’s case. Ross continued to have a vested interest in the story, […]

5. Breaking Bans

There are instances in which Canadian individuals and organizations have been charged with violating publication bans. While it does not appear that a Canadian journalist has been jailed for breaking a publication ban, the potential for severe punishment is nevertheless real. [1] In some cases, even minor breaches of the ban have brought charges. However, […]

4. Social Media Take Up the Fight

Publication bans also apply to online content. But due to the ubiquity of the Internet and the reach of social media, legal authorities and reporters alike question whether such methods of controlling trial information are effective. [1] Rehtaeh’s name and story spread internationally, starting with a single Facebook post. The public expressed outrage that the […]

3. Publication Bans vs. Public Interest

In principle, the idea of withholding information is often in conflict with the public interest. As the Canadian Association of Journalists asserts: “the public has a right to know about its institutions and the people who are elected or hired to serve its interests…However, there are inevitable conflicts between the right to privacy, and the rights of […]

2. Fighting the Ban

On April 30, 2014, Judge Campbell ordered a mandatory publication ban on Rehtaeh’s identity under section 486.4(3) of the Criminal Code. [1] While the accused were charged in August of the previous year, they had not yet entered their pleas. [2] As such, Canadian media, including the Chronicle Herald, had published her name in connection to […]

1. Publication Bans in Sex-related Crimes

Publication bans involving young people or sexual crimes are common in Canada, and most court reporters expect them. Bans are meant to protect victims, witnesses and, in some instances, the accused from being identified outside of the courtroom. They also prevent prejudice or misrepresentation of accounts related to the case, something that could unfairly influence a […]

#YouKnowHerName: Publication Bans & Public Interest

The Halifax Chronicle Herald faced a choice: break the law, or defy the wishes of a dead girl’s parents Case study by Katherine DeClerq, Michelle LePage and Taylor Poelman February 2015 Introduction In November 2011, 15-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons attended a small, alcohol-filled house party in Nova Scotia. That night, a 17-year-old boy photographed another boy, 16, having […]