One aspect of corporate power that is being exercised more and more these days is the Slap Suit. When powerful people and corporations don’t like what’s being said, they try to shut down the discussion with lawsuits. Even when those lawsuits are groundless, the cost has the potential to shut down media organizations, especially those which are not able to afford costly libel insurance.

Today’s program is all about this method of stifling dissent, and what can be done to limit the use and efficacy of slap suits to shut down citizens’ voices.

“Protecting the Right to Protest: Free Speech versus Corporate Power.” It was recorded at Media Democracy Days 2016 in November in Vancouver.


1.) Robert Hackett (introductions), is a professor at the Simon Fraser University School of Communication where he specializes in media reform, peace journalism, and the textual analysis of news. 

2.) Josh Paterson is the Executive Director of the British Colombia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA). As a part of the BCCLA, Paterson has covered issues ranging from Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women to the right-to-die debate.

3.) Linda Solomon Wood is the CEO of the Observer Media Group and is also Editor-in-Chief of the National Observer. The National Observer focuses on investigative reporting and daily news about climate, energy, the environment, and current political affairs.

4.) Alan Dutton is a member of the Canadian Anti-Racism Education and Research Society. Dutton previously served on provincial committees developing anti-racism strategies and participated in federal organisations presenting workshops and research on racism.

5.) Michael Vonn is the Policy Director at the British Colombian Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA). Vonn has been published in a number of journals, including the Birckjbeck Law Review, Surveilance and Society, the Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law, and Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law.

Thanks to CJSF at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby for letting us use their recordings. And to Tania Ehret,’s liaison with Media Democracy Days. And to Braden Alexander for editing and scripting this for

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