Chief Justice asks: will accuracy and fairness be casualties of the social media era?

February 1st, 2012 by Barry Sookman Leave a reply »

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada gave a speech yesterday at Carleton University. In it she questioned whether fairness and accuracy might be lost in the world of blogging, tweeting and the use of social networks. She said the media is essential to building public trust in the administration of justice.

For those of you who follow copyright law reform developments on certain blogs and social media sources you might find her speech will resonate with you.

For fun, I have taken extracts of her speech reported in the Toronto Star and have substituted the words “administration of justice” with the words “copyright law”; “the judiciary” with “legislative process”; and “constitutional decision” with “copyright reform process”. Here is how the report of her speech would read:

But she says newspapers, radio and television are “old technology” at a time when anyone with a keyboard can create a blog and call themselves a journalist.

She wondered whether fairness and accuracy might be lost in the world of Facebook, tweets and instant messaging, which she says are part of a profound, cultural shift in how people communicate.

“Some bloggers will be professionals and academics providing thoughtful commentary and knowledge,” she said. “Others will fall short of basic journalistic standards. Will accuracy and fairness be casualties of the social media era?

“What will be the consequences for public understanding of copyright law and confidence in the legislative process? How can a medium such as Twitter inform the public accurately or adequately in 140 characters or less of the real gist of a complex copyright reform process?”

The Chief Justice could not have given her speech at a more opportune time.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Advertisement
%d bloggers like this: