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'Going Clear,' Lawrence Wright's book about Scientology, has its release delayed in Canada

The Canadian release of 'Going Clear' has now been put on hold while its publisher reviews libel law in the country. The book's publication was already cancelled in the UK.

By Staff Writer / February 6, 2013

'Going Clear' by Lawrence Wright focuses on the Church of Scientology and its practices.

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Writer Lawrence Wright’s book on Scientology, “Going Clear,” has had its publication in Canada delayed while Wright’s publisher, Knopf, looks at the libel laws in the country.

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The book’s release in the United Kingdom has already been cancelled by publisher Transworld. Libel laws in the UK are notoriously harsher than in the US, often tending to favor the plaintiff.

“Knopf U.S. holds the Canadian rights to the book and due to the tight publishing schedule, a Canadian legal review was not completed at the time of the U.S. publication,” Knopf said in a statement. “Given the differing legal systems in the US and Canada, Knopf decided not to make the book available for distribution in Canada at the present time until such legal review is completed.”

The book was unavailable on Amazon.ca, the Canadian branch of the bookseller.

The Church of Scientology has already panned Wright’s book, calling it “fiction.”

“British and Canadian publishers chose not to print Mr. Wright's book, which speaks volumes about their confidence in its facts and allegations," church public affairs director Karin Pouw said in a statement. "Mr. Wright ignored the real story of Scientology in favor of stale allegations and ever-changing bizarre tales invented by a handful of confessed liars consumed with their media smear campaign.”

Wright contended that he tried to interview church officials but was rebuffed multiple times.

Jacob Ziegel, a law professor at the University of Toronto, told the Toronto Star that it’s time for the legal system in Canada to undergo a revamp when it comes to libel. 

“Canada’s libel laws generally put publishers at considerable risk,” Ziegel said. “They’re seriously antiquated and need to be changed.”

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