Global News and its parent company Corus Entertainment say in response to a lawsuit filed by Han Dong that their reporting about the Toronto MP was based on a detailed investigation involving multiple sources.
Dong's lawyers served the media company with a libel notice in March and called for a full apology and retraction for what they described as "false, malicious, irresponsible and defamatory statements" about him.
Global had published a story that month citing unidentified sources who alleged Dong told a Chinese diplomat in February 2021 that releasing Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who at the time were detained in China, would benefit the federal Conservatives.
Dong resigned from the Liberal caucus after the report was published, saying he wanted to focus on clearing his name, and foreign interference watchdog David Johnston concluded in his recent report that the allegation in the story was "false."
Global and Corus say in a statement of defence filed today that their sources for the story felt that the serious risks associated with sharing classified materials were outweighed by the public importance of the information.
The legal document says the allegations were based on information from two or three sources with knowledge of investigations by Canada's spy agency into foreign interference.
A lawyer for Dong had no comment on Tuesday.