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Rebel News v. Al Jazeera Media 2021 ONSC 1035

In late November 2019 Rebel News commenced a proceeding against Al Jazeera Media seeking damages for defamation.

Rebel’s cause of action arose out of allegedly defamatory statements contained in an internet article and YouTube video published by Al Jazeera in September 2019. Rebel alleged that within the article and video, Al Jazeera published three, separate defamatory statements.

Al Jazeera brought a motion under section 137.1(3) of the Courts of Justice Act, R.S.O. 1990 c. C43 for an order dismissing the action as being a SLAPP.

The Court found in favour of Al Jazeera on the defence of responsible communication. The Court states that “Rebel …failed to discharge its onus to show that the defence (of responsible communication) has no real prospect of success.”

In the ‘weighing’ stage the Court found that Rebel News did not do enough to show it suffered any harm, especially in light of evidence of its pre-existing reputation.