Radio-Canada broadcaster suspended after defamatory Facebook comments

Comment accusing rival broadcaster of links to organized crime posted on other journalist's virtual wall

A prominent Quebec broadcast journalist has been suspended by Radio-Canada for comments he made on Facebook about another journalist.

Pierre Sormany heads the investigative journalism department at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s French-language arm. Last week, he posted comments on the Facebook page of another journalist referring to claims by Quebec’s anti-collusion boss that some of the news media were trying to intimidate him while he investigated businessman Tony Accurso, who has been linked to organized crime and is the owner of businesses charged with more than $4 million in fraud.

Sormany’s comments stated that Jean Lapierre, a television host and former politician, was a friend of Accurso’s and acted as a “go-between” for the men.

Lapierre is now suing Sormany for “false and defamatory” comments. Shortly after the lawsuit was launched, Radio-Canada released a statement saying Sormany had been suspended for violating the corporation’s journalistic standards through “personal comments on a Facebook page about a hot news topic.”

Journalists under Sormany’s responsibility have been investigating TVA, Lapierre’s network, as well as other private sector media organizations.

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