The Free Speech at Risk site is dedicated to bringing attention to issues relating to threats against freedom of expression and academic freedom in Canada, with a focus on specific instances of abuse.
In spring of 2008, multinationals Barrick Gold and Banro Corporation filed lawsuits against authors Alain Deneault, Delphine Abadie, and William Sacher, as well as against their Montreal-based publishing house Écosociété over the book Noir Canada. Pillage, corruption et criminalité en Afrique (Black Canada. Pillage, corruption and criminality in Africa). The multinationals allege that the book contains false statements about their activities that amount to libel. Despite the well-sourced nature of the material, including reports from the UN, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International, they have accused those involved of publishing defamatory statements and are pursuing them for a combined sum of $11 million ($5 million to Banro in an Ontario-based suit, and $6 million to Barrick, filed in Montreal).
Our Academic Petition contains further details on the case, as well as the signatures of academic professors from around the world who are pledging their support for the authors and publishing house.
These clear threats against academic freedom of expression and freedom of speech are cause for serious concern and the Free Speech at Risk site aims to bring attention to these cases and open up the public debate over the issue. Authors and academics should not have to fear legal action for simply asking questions based on material and reports that are already in the public domain.
This site is managed by Professor Michel Seymour from the Université de Montréal. Several organizations have also pledged their support. If you are an academic professor, please consider signing our Academic Petition.
If you have any comments, suggestions, or are looking for more information please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.