A Sourcebook of Canadian Media Law. 2nd ed.


869 pages
ISBN 0-88629-238-7
DDC 342.71'0853




Reviewed by Rebecca Murdock

Rebecca Murdock is a lawyer in Toronto.


As sourcebooks go, this is a gem. Primarily used as a journalism
textbook, this encyclopedia of media law contains leading common law
cases, commentaries, statutes, and a few scholarly essays. The text
generally consists of case decisions interspersed with the authors’
incisive commentaries.

Several landmark cases have been included since the first edition: the
Supreme Court’s treatment of pornography in Regina v. Butler (1992),
and its handling of hate propaganda in Regina v. Zundel (1992) and
Regina v. Keegstra (1990); the Federal Court Trial Division’s
consideration of journalistic privilege in MacLeod et al. v. Canadian
Armed Forces (1991). Brief, up-to-date critical essays in each of these
areas would have been useful.

The Sourcebook is also an accessible reference guide; for example, it
raises a number of timely issues such as a private citizen’s right to
take and use photographs in public, the ban on using TV cameras to
record proceedings in Canadian courtrooms, and the criminalization of
taping cellular phone conversations. With the Criminal Court’s 1994
media ban on the Homolka trial, issues of the public’s right to
witness the judicial process have been circumscribed by the rights of
the victims’ families to privacy. No mention is made of Homolka in
this edition, but the legal principles underlying the court’s ban are
canvassed. No doubt new case law on freedom of the press will be
included in any followup edition by the authors, as will reference to
crimes on the Internet.

Two criticisms are worth noting: an index would have been useful, and
using a different typeface to distinguish the authors’ commentary from
the judge’s decision would have

increased the readers’ ease of reference.


Martin, Robert, and G. Stuart Adam., “A Sourcebook of Canadian Media Law. 2nd ed.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 19, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/6689.