November 25, 2014

Chronicle Herald

The Chronicle Herald in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Monday broke a court-ordered ban on publishing Rehtaeh Parsons name. Parsons died last year; she was tormented by a photo that she said showed her being raped.

The photo fell under Canada’s child-pornography laws, which meant, a judge said, that Canadian media would be enjoined against printing her name in subsequent actions. That led to weird write-arounds like referring to a “high-profile child pornography case” and the Chronicle Herald refusing an ad from Parsons’ uncle naming her.

“We believe it’s in the public interest in this unique case, given the widespread recognition of Rehtaeh Parsons’ name, and given the good that can come, and has already come, from free public debate over sexual consent and the other elements of her story,” an editor’s note atop Monday’s story reads. It continues:

It is difficult for readers to follow a news story when the name associated with it is omitted, and we want to inform Nova Scotians of the outcome of this legal case. We would like to reassure other crime victims that their own court-ordered privacy rights will be respected as always.

Parsons’ parents had previously run a social media campaign called “Rehtaeh Parsons is her name.” The Chronicle Herald’s front page has a picture of Parsons and the hashtag #KnowYouKnowHerName.

Here’s the Chronicle Herald’s Tuesday front page, courtesy the Newseum.


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Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City…
Andrew Beaujon

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