Freedom of expression under attack: Québec ecological publisher sued by Barrick Gold to force them into bankruptcy
A Solidarity concert in support of Écosociété will be held in Montreal on Thursday June 12 at the Kola Note, 5240, Parc Avenue, at 8:30 pm. Featured artists include Les Zapartistes, Tomás Jensen, Ève Cournoyer, Jérôme Minière, Ivy, Jean-François Lessard, Kumpa’nia et Adama Zon will be sharing the stage starting at 8:30 pm. Novelist Stanley Péan will be the MC.
For 15 years, Québec publisher Écosociété has published books that aim to help define a more just society that is more respectful of natural resources, based on participatory democracy and a sustainable economy. Écosociété releases about ten books public a year in French, on topics such as ecology, consumption, economy, social values, globalization, geopolitics, agriculture, and international solidarity.
Barrick Gold, the world largest gold mining company, has launched a $6 millions lawsuit against Écosociété solely in order to crush them and force them into bankruptcy. Following publication of Noir Canada. Pillage, corruption et criminalité en Afrique, Barrick demanded that the small non-profit publisher, and the authors of Noir Canada, pay $5 million for compensatory damages and $1 million in exemplary damages — in total 25 times Écosociété’s annual revenue.
Écosociété has launched a Solidarity Campaign to fund its defence, and to defend freedom of expression and access to information.
Maude Barlow, Naomi Klein, la Ligue des droits et libertés, the Council of the Canadians, and the Canadian Labour Congress are among those who have declared their support. More than 4500 individuals have already signed the petition and 1000 people have written to the Québec Minister of Justice to ask the government for anti-SLAPP legislation.
This lawsuit muzzle, or Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP), represents a serious threat to the right to information and freedom of expression and therefore to democracy. Écosociété refuses to be muzzled and promises to carry on its work as a socially committed publisher.
Écosociété asks for all forms of possible support to carry on this David and Goliath struggle. In particular, they are asking supporters to:
- Sign the online petition for an anti-SLAPP law and send it to all your contacts
- Write to your MP and to the minister to ask for an anti-SLAPP law
- Send a donation
- Buy the book Noir Canada
Noir Canada. Pillage, corruption et criminalité en Afrique brings together and analyses publicly available national and international documents (reports, books, documentaries…), concerning various abuses committed by Canadian companies working in Africa, in particular in mining and oil. It also deals with the support these corporations receive from the Canadian government.
For more information, see the Écosociété Solidarity website in French, English or Spanish.