Judge Rules Full Trial Warranted in Case Against Montreal Chinese Newspaper for Libel Against Falun Gong
Montréal (FDI) – Last week , Quebec Judge William Fraiberg dismissed the Montreal Chinese newspaper Les Presses Chinoises’ motion which attempted to terminate Falun Gong practitioner’s case against the paper. Justice Fraiberg found the case has sufficient merit to justify a full trial which was set to November 10-25, 2003.
Since November 2001, Les Presses Chinoises has continuously published articles inciting hate against Falun Gong. Some of the contents are word for word copies of materials from the Chinese Embassy. To stop this defamation, Falun Gong practitioners from Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto filed a lawsuit against the paper, its publisher and the author. From December 2001 to February 2002, the Quebec Superior Court reiterated 3 times a safeguard order, each time with stricter restrictions, to prohibit the paper from publishing extreme anti Falun Gong publications. These orders have apparently been ignored by the newspaper, which continues to publish hate propaganda.
This month, after both parties declared themselves ready for trial, Les Presses Chinoises applied to have the case dismissed, claiming FLG did not have legal interest to sue. At the hearing on January 13, 2003, Justice Fraiberg dismissed the motion.
Justice Fraiberg said in the hearing that the plaintiffs have sufficient interest to have the lawsuit as it could be argued that they suffered at least moral damages. The trial court would have to determine the extent of the freedom of press balanced against the rights of the plaintiffs and their dignity.
Mr. Michael Bergman, legal counsel representing Falun Gong plaintiffs said that there are limits to freedom of speech, for example the law on defamation. In addition, this case is not just about defamation, it is about the human rights of Falun Gong practitioners, and the spread of hate against them on a large scale.
Mr. Bergman pointed out at the hearing that Falun Gong practice is based on the principles of “Truth-Compassion-Tolerance”, and its practitioners have been exemplary citizens in the society. To attack such a good group with such vile words, is to attack human moral value and social justice.
“Once again, FLG practitioners have been vindicated in their pursuit of justice to bring about the comprehensive trial to address the issues of hate and hate provocating publications in this important Canadian Civil liberties litigation”, said Mr. Bergman.
For more info: Mr. Michael Bergman: 514-249-1177 (c ), Lucy Zhou: 613-599-7494