Monday, December 05, 2016

Silence! Press Freedom "Champion" Martineau Slaps Lawsuit on Ricochet

We’re Being Sued, and We Need Your Help

by Ricochet

December 5, 2016  

Hello; let us get right to the point: Ricochet’s existence is threatened by a defamation lawsuit filed by Richard Martineau, a columnist with the Quebecor-owned Journal de Montréal. He’s seeking $350,000 in damages from Ricochet, contributor Marc-André Cyr and illustrator Alexandre Fatta for the publication of a satirical piece that made fun of his polemical style.

Mr. Martineau may hope to see Ricochet go bankrupt paying for a legal defence, which would silence one of the very few progressive outlets in Quebec and one of a handful across Canada.

But we have news for him. Ricochet is here to stay, and we will fight to the end. But we can’t do it without your help.

We founded Ricochet in 2014 with a crowdfunding campaign that raised $83,000 from individuals.

This time we are fundraising without fanfare, without perks. We need $50,000 to cover our legal needs and defend the freedom of the press.

Bills for court fees and legal expenses related to our defence are already piling up. We are confident that we can win this case, but the court process will be extremely long and costly. It could very well shut down the organization.

Can you donate $25, $50 or $100 to help us defend ourselves against Richard Martineau?

Yes, I want to contribute the amount of my choice to Ricochet’s defence.

Thanks to your support and lots of goodwill, we have published over 1,500 articles read over three million times by readers across Canada and from as far away as Saudi Arabia (we were one of the first to report on the Saudi arms deal in 2014) and Hong Kong (where our exclusive interview with Edward Snowden ignited a media firestorm last week).

It is with a heavy heart that we prepare to go to court. We would much rather focus on Ricochet’s mission of bilingual journalism in the public interest. But this case is about more than just us. The principle of freedom of expression is on trial.

Richard Martineau is well versed in freedom of expression. In a column from March of this year, he wrote that “freedom of expression is ALSO the freedom to say what is shocking, detestable and unpopular.” His “Je suis Charlie” series includes 45 columns praising the satirical work of cartoonists Cabu, Charb, Tignous and Wolinski. When far-right British politician Paul Weston — who proudly describes himself as a racist — was invited to Montreal, Martineau campaigned against the cancellation of his conference.

Despite all this, today Martineau is attacking the freedom of expression by going after a small independent media outlet. We cannot let him succeed.

Are you ready to contribute to Ricochet’s victory?

Yes, I want to contribute the amount of my choice to Ricochet’s defence.

We appreciate your support, whether you donate, express support on social media, or share this news with your circles. It is with your help that we built Ricochet, and it is with your help that we will win this case.

Erin Seatter and Jahanzeb Hussain, editors

On behalf of the entire Ricochet team

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