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“威逼诉讼”不再是新闻媒体的绊脚石
Anti-slapp judgement a strong defence for public interest journalism




安省乡镇杂志“蓝山杂志”的发行人因一篇专栏文章而吃了一场诽谤诉讼官司,该镇前议员撰此文批评当时的镇长和副镇长对他所面临的职场骚扰指控处理不当。该杂志和发行人因拒绝撤回文章并对原告做道歉而遭到高额赔偿诉讼,索赔额包括$25万元一般性损失和$20万元惩罚性损失。法庭根据“反威逼诉讼”法做出了判决。

The publisher of Blue Mountain Review magazine, a small-town publication published an op-ed that led to a lawsuit and eventually a judgment in anti-SLAPP law. A former city councilor wrote the article to criticize the then-mayor and his deputy over their handling of an investigation into workplace harassment allegation against him. The magazine and the publisher, who failed to heed a demand for retraction and apology, faced a lawsuit seeking $250,000 in general damages and an additional $200,000 in punitive damages.



在其律师提出的“反威逼”动议做出判决前,发行人琳达•维克斯已经花了$1万元的法律开支,这笔律师费对她的仅有两人运作的微型企业来说可谓非同小可。如果法庭判决对她不利,《蓝山杂志》则会濒临破产及关门休业的结局。

Before a judgment issued over an anti-SLAPP motion filed by her lawyer, Linda Wykes, the publisher, had spent $10,000 on legal bills, a significant hit for her two-person printing operation. She could have lost the whole company, had a judgment been issued against her.

“威逼”诉讼是旨在杜绝公众参与的战略性法律诉讼,其目的不是赢得诉讼本身而是在于利用法律诉讼来威逼异见发声者,让他们闭嘴。财大气粗的原告们往往对那些对其行为不满又敢于仗义执言的机构和个人发难,以法律诉讼方式向他们施加财务和精神压力。

SLAPP – a strategic lawsuit against public participation was abusive litigation that tries to bully critics into silence. SLAPP suits are not filed to claim a victory but to make a legal threat.  With a deep-pocket, plaintiffs intend to put financial and mental stress on targeted entities that acted as civil society watchdogs.



法律诉讼的昂贵性让“威逼”策略如虎添翼,而长期以来这种诉讼策略也被作为常规武器而频频在安省法庭登场亮相。许多威逼诉讼都在庭审前和解或撤诉,但由于法律诉讼耗时良久,它足以让被揭露的丑闻远离公众论坛,而吃了官司的被告也不得乖乖地闭上“乌鸦嘴”。

The expensive legal proceedings have made the SLAPP suits very useful, and the tactic to intimidate are commonly used and became a standard weapon over the past.   Most SLAPP lawsuits are settled or withdrawn before trial but could take contentious debates out of public arena and silence defendants for years as they crawled through the court system.

威逼诉讼矛头往往直指在民主社会中扮演监督角色的新闻媒体。《大中报》在过去数十年中因发表揭露社区黑暗面的文章而反复收到诉讼威胁,其范围从诽谤通知到要求撤文到法庭诉讼,索要赔偿额也从几万元到数百万元不等。

The intimidation lawsuit frequently targets media organizations that play a watchdog role in a democratic society. Over the past, Chinese News has received repeated lawsuit threats over articles that shined a light in the community dark corners. The legal actions ranged from libel notices to cease and desist letters to a statement of claims, seeking damages ranging from tens of thousands to millions of dollars.



2017年,温哥华网栏记者黄河边发表的指控温哥华地产商潘妙非逃税等问题而遭这名千万富翁的法律诉讼。但法庭驳回了潘索要的数目位于$36万元和$45万元之间的伤害索赔,而仅仅判给他$1元钱。法庭称,没有证据显示作为社区侨领的潘妙非因黄河边之文而名声受损。潘妙非目前在卑诗省最高法庭对判决提出上诉。

In 2017, multimillionaire developer Pan Miaofei in B.C. sued Vancouver blogger Gao Bin Chen for his online publication alleging Pan of tax evasion and other issues. The judge rejected Pan's suggestion of damages between $360,000 and $450,000 but awarded him of $1.  The court had found little proof that the postings had hurt Pan's reputation as a community leader. Pan is appealing the decision in BC Supreme Court.

独立新闻报道是西方民主社会的前提和保障。但威逼诉讼威胁民主之声,对自由言论有着破坏性的影响。为了捍卫民主社会的法律尊严,维护宪章基本权利,法律活动家们纷纷打破沉默,要求司法改革。2015年,安省立法机构通过了反威逼诉讼法,准许威逼诉讼被告以更圆满的方式取消诉讼,因而避免大笔律师费开支。

Independent media is a cornerstone of Western democracy. However, SLAPP lawsuits have damaging effects on free speech. To discourage the efforts aiming at suppressing this right, legal activists broke the silence and demanded a change.  Ontario legislature in 2015 pasted anti-SLAPP legislation that allowed defendants to have the SLAPP suit dismissed in a more desirable matter, avoiding expensive legal costs.



安大略上诉法院最近就反威逼法做出两项判决。法庭建议在网上评论的诽谤诉讼中,原告须在诉讼初期提供因网络言论而遭受损失的证据。否则,法庭将停止诉讼程序,使其根本无法进入庭审。

In two recent rulings, the Ontario Court of Appeal has suggested that plaintiffs in libel actions over online comments should present evidence of actual harm at an early stage. Otherwise, a proceeding may not be permitted to proceed to trial.

安省高级法院于7月8日做出判决,取消了对《蓝山杂志》的诉讼。法庭认为前镇议员的言论是以公众利益出发而为之,且作为镇长和副镇长的原告未能证实该文给他们造成了任何实际损失。法庭要求两位原告支付一切法庭费用,估计费用额会在数万元左右。

A judgment by Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismissed the lawsuit against Blue Mountain Review on July 8. The court believed that the former councillor’s statement had related to a matter of public interest and that the plaintiffs had failed to demonstrate claimed damages caused by the publication. The court ordered the two plaintiffs pay the full court costs, which likely amount to tens of thousands of dollars.

这一判决是反威逼诉讼法的胜利,也给那些维护公众利益的独立媒体提供了强有力的辩护词。

The judgment is a victory of anti-SLAPP law and a strong defense for public interest journalism.



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