Date of this Version
On September 16, 2005 the Court of Appeal for Ontario handed down its decision in Bangoura v The Washington Post.
The case, concerning jurisdiction in Internet libel, was closely watched by the global media community. After the shock of the Australian High Court decision of Dow Jones & Co. Inc. v Gutnick , the world’s media companies desperately wanted to avoid any repeat of that decision which granted jurisdiction to a Victorian court to hear a defamation action against the New York Based Dow Jones company for articles that were published on one of their web sites.
Given that courts in common law countries are receptive to the decisions of each other’s courts, a decision in favour of Cheickh Bangoura would have added to a growing corpus of law in common law jurisdictions that provides for the granting of jurisdiction to courts in the place of the plaintiff’s residence in situations of Internet libel.
The media corporations of the world got the result they wanted and Bangoura was denied the right to sue The Washington Post in Ontario.
But, was it a fair decision, was it a correct decision and was it decided the way it was for the right reasons?