By Sakura Saunders
Two large Canadian mining companies, Barrick Gold and Banro Corporation, are suing Écosociété, a small publishing house in Québec, and Montreal-based academics Alain Deneault, Delphine Abadie, and William Sacher.
The mining companies claim that Écosociété is deliberately publishing falsehoods about their operations.
These suits are criticized as being SLAPP suits, or Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, as the book in question, “Noir Canada,” merely analyses national and international documents already available to the public about Canadian companies operating in Africa.
The combined sum of the lawsuit is $11 million, amounting to 45 times Écosociété’s annual revenue.
Last year Barrick issued a threat of legal action against Vancouver publisher Talonbooks before the book was even published.
The Talonbooks website nevertheless indicates that the book will still be published in May 2011.
So, while Peter Munk is branding the International Studies and Global Policy program at the University of Toronto, his company, Barrick Gold, is, amongst other unspeakable things, threatening free speech.
For more info on the cases, visit: www.freespeechatrisk.ca.