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Businesses in Canada Should Not Be Able to Sue for Defamation

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Submitted By joeytermpaper
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Businesses in Canada should not be able to sue for defamation because a corporation is not a person. Defamation is easy to allege but hard to defend, and there are effective alternatives to respond to it.
Corporations may be designed and operated by people, but corporations are not human beings. John Paul Stevens, a retired associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States can provide support stating:
Corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their 'personhood' often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of “We the People” by whom and for whom our Constitution was established. {insert refernce}
With the belief that a corporation is not a person, the definition of defamation suggests corporations should not be able to sue for defamation. According to the Canadian Bar Association “Defamation is communication about a person that tends to hurt the person's reputation. It causes the reader or listener to think less of the person. The communication must be made to other people, not just to the person it's about.” The fact that
Corporations are not human entities is not the only reason businesses in Canada should not be allowed to sue for defamation. Defamation is also easy to allege but hard to defend. Since Corporations have substantial financial and legal resources, including teams of corporate lawyers on retainer, they can simply out spend and eventually bankrupt private individuals with endless legal proceedings.
In defamation, the plaintiff does not have to prove they suffered any actual loss to their reputation, or that the statement against them was false. It falls on the defendant to prove the statement was true. This process takes a lot of time and money. As a result, rather than spending a small fortune defending their right of freedom of speech, most defendants will retract their statement.
A prime example of this can be found in Hillary Young’s, ‘Why Canada shouldn’t let businesses sue for defamation’ Mark Prince created a website inviting people to describe their customer service experiences with Future Shop. He was immediately threatened with a defamation suit, and with the advice of a lawyer, Prince shut the site down. Not because of what he had done was defamation, it simply would of cost him too much to defend himself.”
This case demonstrates why businesses in Canada should not be able to sue for defamation. The mere threat of a defamation law suit allows corporations to bully individuals out of exercising their right of freedom of speech.
Corporations have options in response to defamation, such as the tort of injurious falsehood. Injurious falsehood is a solution for the defendant previously mentioned, as the responsibility to prove wrong doing falls more on the plaintiff.
Injurious falsehood is a sub category of defamation, with the idea that a corporation cannot be defamed as it cannot suffer ‘hurt feelings.’ According to lawyers, Batten Sacks and Harvey Bruce, “the business has to show actual damage, whereas in defamation cases the damage is presumed at the moment the publication has been shown to be defamatory.” This provides less of a cost to the defendant, and gives more responsibility to the plaintiff to prove the wrong doing.”
As well as injurious falsehood, corporations can protect themselves by having an effective public relations and advertising team. When defamation arises, businesses can go an alternative route and use public relations and advertising for damage control, with the possibility of improving their company. By effectively dealing with a crisis, opportunities can arise.
An example of a good public relations campaign that improved the perception of an organization is the Los Angeles Clippers .NBA players were satisfied by owner Robert Sterling’s support, the national customer base and sponsors rallied around the brand, and Silver quieted the media hoopla in time for the NBA Finals to take center stage. The NBA achieved a classic benefit of great crisis PR: It strengthened its brand with a halo effect. Heck, even new Los Angeles Clippers Owner Steven Ballmer looks better in the wake of his departure from Microsoft.…...

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