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Monday, April 22, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Media Critics Want to Bring Case to U.S.

VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) - Bolstered by a legal triumph in Canada, the publisher behind Adbusters Magazine and Buy Nothing Day is looking for U.S. lawyers for its legal team, to take on major broadcasters who have routinely denied attempts to buy airtime for its "social marketing television campaigns."

Adbusters Media Foundation will have another day in B.C. Supreme Court after the B.C. Court of Appeal found that a trial judge jumped the gun in striking a complaint against Global Television and publicly owned Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

The broadcasters refused to run a series of provocative anti-corporate public service announcements and Adbusters sued, claiming the companies were unconstitutionally stifling freedom of expression by refusing it airtime on the same terms as other advertisers.

The complaint was dismissed, with the judge finding it "plain and obvious" that the claims would not succeed, but an appellate panel disagreed, ruling that the trial judge incorrectly held that he was bound by an earlier decision involving Adbusters and the CBC.

Moreover, the trial judge "went beyond" the "plain and obvious" test and mistakenly used an analysis of a recent precedent, which, the panel found, would have been "more appropriate at a later stage in the action."

In a statement after the ruling, Adbusters predicted a wave of legal action against U.S. broadcasters that also have refused to run its anti-advertising advertisements.

"CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, MTV and the Food Channel have also repeatedly refused to sell us airtime over the past 15 years and we would like to launch a freedom of speech legal action in the U.S.," Adbusters said.

"The endgame will be a series of lawsuits around the world forcing the half a dozen media megacorporations controlling the bulk of news and entertainment flows around the planet to return some control back to the public."

"If you know an American lawyer who may be interested in being part of our legal team, then let us know, email [email protected]."

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