Canada Supreme Court upholds election blackout law

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Canada [official website] on Thursday upheld [judgment text] an election law prohibiting media outlets from broadcasting final election results in areas where the polls have not yet closed, finding the law a reasonable limit on freedom of expression as it ensures "informational equality among voters."

Section 329
of the Canada Elections Act [text], enacted in 1934, reads:

No person shall transmit the result or purported result of the vote in an electoral district to the public in another electoral district before the close of all of the polling stations in that other electoral district.
A Canadian blogger brought a legal challenge to the law [news archive] after he was fined $1,000 by the government for intentionally posting poll results [press release] on his website during the 2000 elections before the British Columbia polls had closed on the Canadian west coast. The British Columbia Supreme Court [official website] initially struck down the law [opinion] as a violation of the free speech guarantees of the Canada Charter [text], and the BC Court of Appeal reversed [opinion]. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case [CTV report] in December 2005. CTV News has more.

 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.