Rogers Communications, a Canadian media corporation, thinks its right to freedom of expression is more important than its responsibility to provide truth in advertising.
In a move that defies logic, Rogers is asking the Ontario Superior Court to strike down a federal law provision that requires companies to provide 'adequate and proper' tests of a product's performance before making claims in advertisements.
The Montreal Gazette reports that, according to Rogers, the testing requirement violates its right to freedom of expression. Rogers also argues that charging companies hefty financial penalties for making false or misleading claims is unconstitutional.
The dispute stems from a misleading ad campaign involving a discount cellphone carrier of Rogers, Chatr. According to Canada.com, the cellphone carrier claimed it had "fewer dropped calls than new wireless carriers," which has never been proven to be true. In fact, the Competition Bureau conducted an extensive review of technical data from numerous sources and concluded there were no differences in dropped call rates between the Rogers discount service and new carriers.
“At its root, the case effectively advances the proposition that companies that advertise shouldn’t be forced to actually have the facts and evidence on hand before they make a claim and it somehow devalues public discourse if they are forced to do so,” said Michael Janigan, executive director and general counsel at Public Interest Advocacy Centre, in an interview with the Montreal Gazette.
If Rogers wins its case, just imagine the implications.
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