Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and Toronto Mayor John Tory are seen during a news conference at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities meetings in Ottawa on January 20, 2017. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson is the target of test legal case that could prompt politicians all across the country to reconsider their use of social media. Three city residents are seeking a court order declaring that Watson infringed their constitutional right to freedom of expression by blocking them from his Twitter feed. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Test case challenges a politician’s right to block people from Twitter account

3 people say Watson infringed their constitutional right to freedom of expression by blocking them

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson is the target of a test legal case that could prompt politicians all across the country to reconsider their use of social media.

Three city residents are seeking a court order declaring that Watson infringed their constitutional right to freedom of expression by blocking them from his Twitter feed.

Paul Champ, the lawyer representing the trio, says Watson uses his Twitter account to communicate with Ottawans about municipal issues and it is, therefore, profoundly undemocratic for him to prevent certain residents from seeing his tweets or commenting on them.

Watson says it’s his personal Twitter account and he has the right to block those who regularly attack and harass him.

The three individuals challenging Watson are lawyer Emilie Taman, a twice-failed candidate for the NDP, postal worker union representative James Hutt and Dylan Penner, media officer for the Council of Canadians.

Champ says the three have always been civil in their comments but appear to have been blocked simply because they disagree with Watson.

The Canadian Press


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