quote: World wide web of litigation? 14/03/2005 08:43 - (SA)
Toronto - A historic legal battle being waged in Canada pits the Washington Post and 50 media giants against an aggrieved former United Nations official.
The case hinges on whether a person who believes they have been wronged on a website can challenge a foreign publication in court where they live - or in a place where they may choose to reside in future.
Both sides are testing the limits of libel and defamation laws designed years ago for print publications, which are threatened with obsolescence by the power of the web.
The Post is challenging an earlier court ruling that a former UN official, Cheickh Bangoura, can sue the Post in Ontario over two articles that accused him of sexual and financial transgressions.
The paper and its backers, including CNN, the London Times and the Yomiuri Shimbun, argue that if the case goes ahead, any media organisation could be sued anywhere, over stories posted on its website.