Journalists have been given a new weapon against being sued for defamation with a Supreme Court decision to admit “public interest” as a legitimate defense. The Court ruled in December that if a case is brought concerning a report about something that is of legitimate public concern, what is alleged comes from a credible source and the defendant conducts himself or herself in a responsible manner, then such a defense is valid. The decision came in a hearing into an appeal made by a group of newspapers and press organizations in the Cusson v. Quan case, in which a journalist with the Ottawa Citizen was being sued for defamation. The case may now go to retrial. “In recognizing this new defense the Supreme Court has taken a much-needed step forward in protecting free expression in Canada,” commented Phil Tunley, a media lawyer and member of the Board of Directors of the organization Canadian Journalists for Free Expression. Reports of journalists from the United States being refused to be able to enter Canada to cover protests in connection with the Winter Olympics held in Vancouver in February raised concern among press and civil liberties groups. Canadian authorities on two separate occasions interrogated and denied entry to U.S. reporters – John Weston Osburn a freelance journalist from Salt Lake City, Utah, and Martin Macias Jr., a contributor to Vocalo, an online news outlet affiliated to Chicago Public Radio. Osburn, associated with the news organization IndyMedia, was questioned by Canadian border officials on February 10 and turned back because of a past conviction for a misdemeanor. Macias had intended to attend a press conference to be given by a group critical of the Games, Olympic Resistance Network. There was also concern about what was seen as political interference in the Canadian people’s right to know about government’s actions. The issue involved an Access to Information request by the Canadian Press news agency concerning a report on the Public Works department’s real estate portfolio. Violent attacks on individuals and news media property in Canada’s Tamil community, noted since 1990s, continued with reports of the vandalization on February 21 of the premises of Uthayan, a newspaper serving Tamils in Scarborough, Ontario. The paper’s editor, Logan Logendralingam, had received a phone call that morning, saying, “Go to your office, there is a message for you.” When he went there he found the plate glass window has been smashed. He believed the attack was in connection with a recent meeting some Tamil people had with Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaska and to have been carried out by Tamils opposed to him.