BOOK AND PERIODICAL COUNCIL Volume 24
FREEDOMTOREAD CURRENT CENSORSHIP ISSUES IN CANADA
REMEMBERING JUNE CALLWOOD DEREK FINKLE: TAKING THE STAND FOR TAKING A STAND THE DEFAMATION GENERATION? THE LEGAL RISKS OF SOCIAL NETWORKING
GET INVOLVED IDEAS FOR EDUCATORS
FREEDOMTOREAD Each year, Freedom to Read examines current issues of intellectual freedom. This educational kit is designed to inform and assist booksellers, librarians, students, educators and the larger community, particularly during Freedom to Read Week. And since 2008 marks the 25th anniversary of the enactment of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the time is right for a reminder of the reasons why our freedoms need protecting. This year, we explore the boundaries and safeguards that enable people, whether they’re academic researchers or editors or reporters, to investigate and question and write freely. We look at how social networking websites are creating a generation of casual publishers subject to stringent libel laws. And we include one fascinating story about how technology and economics affect the independence of specialized online journals. The Get Involved section has tips for your own Freedom to Read Week activities plus a “media forensics” focus, with exercises designed to encourage students to read (and watch and listen) to the news with an analytical perspective. Freedom of expression and a free press are enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but they mean a lot when they’re exercised.
NOTE: If you have any suggestions for future issues of Freedom to Read, please send them to the Book and Periodical Council, Suite 107, 192 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5T 2C2. Phone: (416) 975-9366 Fax: (416) 975-1839 E-mail: info@theBPC.ca
THE BOOK AND PERIODICAL COUNCIL (BPC) WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE FOLLOWING FOR THEIR GENEROUS SPONSORSHIP OF FREEDOM TO READ WEEK 2008:
Canadian Library Association
THE BPC WOULD ALSO LIKE TO THANK THE FOLLOWING ORGANIZATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS FOR THEIR SUPPORT AND IN-KIND DONATIONS:
Saskatchewan Learning Provincial Library Nunavut Public Library Services
Canadian Library Association
Manitoba Library Association
THE FOLLOWING PEOPLE CONTRIBUTED AN INCREDIBLE AMOUNT OF TIME AND ENERGY PRODUCING THE KIT AND POSTER AND MAINTAINING THE WEBSITE AT WWW.FREEDOMTOREAD.CA: BENITA AALTO, FRANKLIN CARTER, RON GIDDINGS, PEGGY MCKEE, SCOTT MITCHELL, MARG ANNE MORRISON, REVA POMER, SANDRA RICHMOND, EMILY SINKINS, DAVID WYMAN AND THE MEMBERS OF THE FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION COMMITTEE. THE BPC, ALONG WITH THE FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION COMMITTEE, THANKS ALL WRITERS, PHOTOGRAPHERS AND ILLUSTRATORS FOR THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE FREEDOM TO READ KIT OF 2008. THE BPC GRATEFULLY ACKNOWLEDGES THE SUPPORT OF THE CANADA COUNCIL FOR THE ARTS AND ITS MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS.
FREEDOMTOREAD E ditor
consulting E ditor
Franklin Carter D esign
Reva Pomer P oster D esign
Ron Giddings, David Wyman C ontributors
Benita Aalto, Sanjeev Anand, Kimberly Baker, Ron Brown, June Callwood, Franklin Carter, Paige Desmond, Joyce Douglas, Derek Finkle, Isobel Harry, John Hoey, Sylvia Nickerson, Juliet O’Neill, Julie Payne © Book and Periodical Council 2007
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the Book and Periodical Council or, in the case of photocopying or other reprographic copying, a licence from the Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright). Please credit the Book and Periodical Council on any copies of kit materials. Forward all suggestions for future Freedom to Read kits to the Book and Periodical Council in Toronto.
The opinions expressed in Freedom to Read 2008 do not necessarily reflect the official views of the Book and Periodical Council or its member associations. ISBN 978-0-9739099-2-0
4 Position Statement: Freedom of Expression and Freedom to Read 4 Book and Periodical Council Members 2007–08 5 News Bytes By Franklin Carter and Benita Aalto 8 A Tribute to June Callwood By Joyce Douglas 9 Censorship: What Is and What’s Not By June Callwood 10 Survey of Censorship in 50 Countries Yields Depressing Results By June Callwood
CANADA’S EVENT CALENDAR FOR FREEDOM TO READ WEEK • A LIST OF BOOKS RECENTLY CHALLENGED IN CANADA • TIPS ON HOW TO OBSERVE FREEDOM TO READ WEEK • A CHRONOLOGY OF BOOK BANNINGS AND BURNINGS IN WORLD HISTORY • POSTER ART FOR 24 YEARS OF FREEDOM TO READ WEEK • LINKS TO OTHER ONLINE RESOURCES • AND MUCH MORE . . .
23 2007 Awards for Freedom of Expression/Freedom to Read 25 The Life of a Journalist By Liban Hassan 26
Murder of Canadian Journalist Tara Singh Hayer Remains Unsolved By Julie Payne
27 Empty Chairs: PEN Canada’s International Concerns 28 Filtering History: What Role Should Interest Groups Play? By Ron Brown
11 Rogue Elephants and Press Freedom By Juliet O’Neill
12 Under Pressure: An Interview with Journalist Derek Finkle By Benita Aalto
0 Challenged Books 3 and Magazines
For more information and resources:
2 Book Profile: Free Speech 2 in Fearful Times By Franklin Carter
Talking About My Defamation: Facebook, Free Speech and the Generation Gap By Paige Desmond
17 The 2010® Olympics®: Creative Licence, Licensing and the Law By Kimberly Baker 19
Editorial Independence in the Electronic Age: New Threats, Old Owners? By John Hoey
The Impact of Canada’s Charter on Free Expression: A Conversation with Sanjeev Anand By Benita Aalto
29 Ideas for Educators
32 Organize an Essay Contest During Freedom to Read Week 34 Freedom to Read Week Activity: Host Your Own Photo Contest 35 Media Forensics: Uncovering the Bare Bones of a Free Press 36 How to Study a Study 37 Write a Punchy Press Release and Get Publicity! 37 Write Your Own Charter of Rights and Freedoms 8 Freedom to Read Week Activities 3 and Events Across Canada 2007 40 The Internet: Netlinks
thebpc BOOK AND PERIODICAL
The Book and Periodical Council is the umbrella organization for associations involved in the writing, editing, publishing, manufacturing, distributing, selling and lending of books and periodicals in Canada.
MEMBERS 2007–08 FULL MEMBERS Access Copyright Association of Canadian Book Wholesalers Association of Canadian Publishers Canadian Authors Association Canadian Book Manufacturers’ Association Canadian Booksellers Association Canadian Library Association Canadian Publishers’ Council Canadian Science Writers’ Association Editors’ Association of Canada League of Canadian Poets Literary Press Group of Canada Magazines Canada Periodical Marketers of Canada Playwrights Guild of Canada Professional Writers Association of Canada The Writers’ Union of Canada
AFFILIATES Disticor Magazine Distribution Services Fraser Direct Distribution Services Georgetown Terminal Warehouse Ltd. Pal Benefits Sameday Right-O-Way Universal Logistics Inc. BPC EXECUTIVE Chair: John Degen (Professional Writers Association of Canada) Vice Chair: Stephanie Fysh (Editors’ Association of Canada) Treasurer: Ronda Kellington (Literary Press Group of Canada) Past Chair: Barry Grills (Author) BPC STAFF Executive Director: Anne McClelland Project Co-ordinator (Intern): Monique Mathew
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FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND FREEDOM TO READ A statement of the basic tenets of the Freedom of Expression Committee of the Book and Periodical Council
“Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms . . . thought, belief, opinion, and expression.” — Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION IS A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT OF ALL CANADIANS, and freedom to read is part of that precious heritage. Our Committee, representing member organizations and associations of the Book and Periodical Council, reaffirms its support of this vital principle and opposes all efforts to suppress writing and silence writers. Words and images in their myriad configurations are the substance of free expression. The freedom to choose what we read does not, however, include the freedom to choose for others. We accept that courts alone have the authority to restrict reading material, a prerogative that cannot be delegated or appropriated. Prior restraint demeans individual responsibility; it is anathema to freedom and democracy. As writers, editors, publishers, book manufacturers, distributors, retailers and librarians, we abhor arbitrary interpretations of the law and other attempts to limit freedom of expression. We recognize court judgements; otherwise, we oppose the detention, seizure, destruction or banning of books and periodicals—indeed, any effort to deny, repress or sanitize. Censorship does not protect society; it smothers creativity and precludes open debate of controversial issues. Endorsed by the Book and Periodical Council February 5, 1997
TO ORDER KITS Freedom to Read kits may be ordered from the Book and Periodical Council for $15 plus shipping and handling charges. Orders for 10 kits or more, shipped to a single address, receive a 20 per cent discount and may be accompanied by a purchase order. Flat, rolled, full-colour posters are available for $10 plus shipping and handling charges. GST is included in all prices (GST#R106801889). All orders are non-refundable.
BOOK AND PERIODICAL COUNCIL
192 Spadina Avenue, Suite 107 Toronto, Ontario M5T 2C2 Phone: (416) 975-9366 Fax: (416) 975-1839 E-mail: info@theBPC.ca Website: www.freedomtoread.ca Website: www.bookandperiodicalcouncil.ca
ASSOCIATE MEMBERS Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia Association of Manitoba Book Publishers Book Publishers Association of Alberta British Columbia Library Association Canadian Children’s Book Centre Canadian Copyright Institute Manitoba Writers’ Guild Inc. Ontario Library Association Organization of Book Publishers of Ontario PEN Canada The Word on the Street The Writers’ Trust of Canada
newsbytes By Franklin Carter and Benita Alto
COMPLAINT PROMPTS CATHOLIC SCHOOL BOARDS TO REVIEW ATHEIST’S NOVEL In late November 2007, the Halton Catholic District School Board in Ontario removed three fantasy novels by British author Philip Pullman from open library shelves. The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass form a trilogy called His Dark Materials and are aimed at readers in Grades 6 to 9. A person had complained that the books contain atheist themes. Within days, two other school boards — the Durham Catholic District School Board in Ontario and the Calgary Catholic School District in Alberta — withdrew the novels from open library shelves. All three boards created committees to review the novels’ appropriateness for young readers
THIS DECISION PUTS ONTARIO into the 21st century in terms of freedom of expression. It helps thaw the libel chill in a jurisdiction that has had the reputation of being one of the most pro-plaintiff in the Western SUSAN SWAN world. This decision will now allow writers to more freely explore issues which are in the public interest. SUSAN SWAN, chair of the Writers’ Union of Canada, on the Ontario Court of Appeal’s introduction of a new legal defence against charges of libel (2007) and to determine whether the novels should return to library shelves. All three books in the trilogy have been in school libraries for years. But some parents and school trustees became alarmed about the books’ content in 2007 after Hollywood announced the release of a movie based on The Golden Compass and after the Catholic League in the United States launched a boycott of the movie and the books. At press time, the school boards’ committees had not finished reviewing the books.
ONTARIO COURT CREATES NEW DEFENCE AGAINST LIBEL
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 1996)
On Nov. 13, 2007, the Ontario Court of Appeal created a new legal defence against charges of libel: the public interest responsible journalism defence. The decision frees the news media to report contentious allegations that benefit the public interest. In the 3–0 ruling, the court declared that a person’s reputation cannot override the public’s right to know the news as long as journalists can show that they researched and wrote their stories responsibly. “The defence rests upon the broad
principle that where a media defendant can show that it acted in accordance with the standards of responsible journalism in publishing a story that the public was entitled to hear, it has a defence, even if it got some of its facts wrong,” wrote Justice Robert Sharpe. “Democracy depends upon the free and open debate of public issues and the freedom to criticize the rich, the powerful and those, such as police officers, who exercise power and authority in our society,” Sharpe wrote. The judges created the new defence as they reviewed a dispute between a former Ontario police officer and the Ottawa Citizen.
HUMAN RIGHTS PANEL RULES AGAINST ANTI-GAY PASTOR On Nov. 30, 2007, a panel of the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission (AHRCC) ruled that Rev. Stephen Boissoin broke provincial law by writing a public letter that expressed fear of and hatred for gays and lesbians. In 2002, Boissoin penned a letter that condemned gay rights activists and associated gays and lesbians with pedophiles, drug pushers and CONTINUED ON PAGE 6
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pimps. The letter appeared in the Red Deer Advocate on June 17, 2002, under the headline “Homosexual Agenda Wicked.” The letter prompted Darren Lund — then a high school teacher but now a professor at the University of Calgary — to file a hate-speech complaint. Lund suggested that Boissoin’s letter had encouraged an assault on a 17-year-old gay man in Red Deer. During the tribunal hearings, Boissoin said that he was carrying out God’s will but not preaching hatred. He said his letter was intended to spur spirited debate. Several organizations expressed interest in the case. Concerned Christians Canada and the Alliance Defense Fund of the United States supported Boissoin’s right to free speech. The Alberta government supported Lund’s effort to censure Boissoin. Canada’s Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere (EGALE) and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association supported Boissoin’s right to free speech but condemned what he wrote.
B.C. JUDGE DISMISSES LIBEL SUIT AGAINST YAHOO INC. On Sept. 5, 2007, in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, Justice Sunni Stromberg-Stein dismissed the libel suit of Wayne Crookes against Yahoo Inc. The lawsuit claimed that the U.S.-based Internet company was liable for damages because it had allowed people to post comments that allegedly defamed Crookes. Stromberg-Stein found no evidence that anyone in the province had read the comments. She concluded that no damage had occurred in British Columbia and that the court had no jurisdiction in the case. Crookes may appeal Stromberg-Stein’s decision. Dan Burnett, a media lawyer who represented the defendants, said the ruling is significant: “It says a person can’t just sue in a jurisdiction like British Columbia because there’s a web publica6
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tion available in B.C. or any other jurisdiction in the world.”
OTTAWA MOVES TO STOP “AMBUSH MARKETING” DURING VANCOUVER OLYMPICS On June 22, 2007, a new federal trademark law — the Olympic and Paralympic Marks Act — received royal assent. The law gives the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and its sponsors the authority to stop unauthorized businesses from using Olympic brands to make money. Industry Minister Maxime Bernier introduced the legislation in March 2007 to discourage ambush marketing campaigns during the Olympics. The law extends trademark protection to common words such as Vancouver, winter, games, gold, silver, bronze, medals, 21st, 2010, sponsor and others. The Olympic and Paralympic Marks Act does not affect journalists who write about the games, although the law could affect some visual artists. The law expires at the end of 2010.
B’NAI BRITH CANADA AND WEB PUBLISHER CLASH IN BRITISH COLUMBIA In 2007, Harry Abrams, a representative of the League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada, filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission about an online journal called Peace, Earth and Justice News. Abrams said that the website “promotes ongoing hatred affecting persons identifiable as Jews and/or as citizens of Israel.” Alan Rycroft, the journal’s publisher, subsequently took down 18 articles about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the recent war in Lebanon. But he said that the articles, while critical of Israeli government policy, do not express hatred toward Jews. “We removed all 18 articles ... named in the complaint within 24 hours as a courtesy to Harry Abrams and to show our good will,” Rycroft said. The commission must address any complaint that alleges a violation of the
Canadian Human Rights Act. At press time, no further developments in this dispute had been publicly reported.
CONSERVATIVE MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT PROPOSES “CLEAN INTERNET ACT” On April 18, 2007, Conservative MP Joy Smith introduced Bill C-427 in the House of Commons. Dubbed the “Clean Internet Act,” Smith’s bill would empower the minister of industry to order Internet service providers (ISPs) to censor websites that promote violence against women, contain child pornography or promote racial hatred. The bill would also grant the minister the authority to order searches of data systems. In addition, Bill C-427 would authorize the federal government (through the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) to license all ISPs. The bill would require ISPs to deny Internet service to convicted offenders. The bill also recommends imprisonment as a possible penalty for ISP executives who fail to comply with ministerial orders. At press time, Bill C-427 had not progressed beyond first reading in the House of Commons.
THUGS BEAT JOURNALIST IN MISSISSAUGA, ONT. On April 17, 2007, two men assaulted Jawaad Faizi, a reporter for The Pakistan Post, as he was sitting in his car outside the home of his newspaper editor in Mississauga, Ont. Using a cricket bat, the attackers smashed the windows of Faizi’s car. They shouted profanities in Urdu and Punjabi, and they warned Faizi to stop “writing against Islam.” Faizi suffered cuts and bruises as well as an injury to his left arm before the attackers fled. Faizi started receiving threats in January 2007 after he had written about a Pakistani cleric, Allama Tahir-Ul-Qadri. He is the leader of an international Muslim group called Idara Minhaj-ul-
International U.S. SPY’S MEMOIR REDACTED BY COURT ORDER
In October 2007, bookstores in the United States began selling copies of Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House by Valerie Plame Wilson. But readers found that sections of the text had been blacked out. Wilson is a former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). She is legally bound to keep classified information secret. She must also submit all her writing about her undercover career to the CIA for prepublication review. In the summer of 2007, Wilson, her publisher and the CIA faced off in court to determine how much of Wilson’s past could appear in her memoir. On Aug. 3, 2007, Judge Barbara S. Jones of Federal District Court in Manhattan ruled that Wilson could not publish how long she had worked for the CIA.
VALERIE PLAME WILSON
The length of Wilson’s employment at the CIA (Nov. 9, 1985, to Jan. 9, 2006) is public information. The fact appears in the U.S. Congressional Record and on the website of the Library of Congress. But Jones declared: “The information at issue was properly classified, was never declassified and has not been officially acknowledged by the CIA.”
NEW TRANSLATION OF QUR’AN PROVOKES CENSORSHIP THREAT In 2007, the publication of The Sublime Quran by Muslim scholar Laleh Bakhtiar provoked a controversy and a threat of censorship within the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). The Sublime Quran is a new English translation of the Muslim holy book. Bakhtiar’s translation refers to God instead of Allah and to Jesus instead of Isa. Her translation also refers to nonMuslims as those who are “ungrateful to God for his blessings” instead of infidels or disbelievers. But Bakhtiar’s translation of Chapter 4, verse 34, is the most controversial. The verse describes how to treat disobedient women and is conventionally translated this way: “And as for those women whose ill-will you have reason to fear, admonish them [first]; then leave them alone in bed; then beat them; and if thereupon they pay you heed, do not seek to harm them. Behold, God is indeed most high, great.” Bakhtiar’s translation, however, alters the command to beat disobedient women: “But those whose resistance you fear, then admonish them and abandon them in their sleeping place; then go away from them; and if they obey you, surely not look for any way against them; truly God is Lofty, Great.” The publication of The Sublime Quran prompted Mohammad Ashraf, the secretary general of ISNA (Canada), to question Bakhtiar’s credentials as a scholar of Islam. He declared: “Our bookstore would not allow this kind of translation. I will consider banning it.”
Courtesy of Laleh Bakhtiar
Quran. Two weeks before the attack in April, Faizi had written a critical story about Allama Tahir-Ul-Qadri who claimed to be able to write the name of Muhammad (the Muslim prophet) on the surface of the moon. Faizi fears for his safety and the safety of his family. Police are investigating the attack.
But Ingrid Mattson, ISNA’s president in the United States, asked Ashraf to retract his remark. “We do not recognize any particular scholar, school of thought or institution as necessarily authoritative for all Muslims,” Mattson said. “Further, we support the right of scholarly inquiry and intellectual discussion on issues related to Islam.”
LIBRARY ASSOCIATION NAMES MOST CHALLENGED BOOK IN UNITED STATES In 2006, the most frequently challenged book in U.S. public libraries was And Tango Makes Three, announced the American Library Association (ALA). The children’s book by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell tells the story of two male penguins raising a baby penguin in a zoo. Americans who sought to have And Tango Makes Three removed from libraries objected to the theme of same-sex parenting. They complained that the book promoted homosexuality, conveyed “anti-family” values and was unsuited to the readers’ age group. U.S. public libraries received 546 challenges to books in 2006. Sixty-one per cent of the challenges were made by parents, and 71 per cent of the challenges involved schools, said the ALA. l FREEDOM TO READ 2008
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A Tribute to JUNE CALLWOOD On April 14, 2007, June Callwood — tireless activist, journalist and fighter for free expression in Canada — died at the age of 82.
By Joyce Douglas
une was a founder and chair of the Book and Periodical Council, but her biggest effort for books and book reading was her work with the Writers’ Union of Canada. During her period as its vice-president, Margaret Laurence’s book The Diviners was under attack in Peterborough, Ont., and in Alice Munro’s hometown of Clinton. The sentence from The Diviners that really got up everyone’s nose was “Now I’m crying, for God’s sake . . . ” Parents were outraged that the novel was in the school curriculum. June, Alice Munro and children’s author Janet Lunn went to a meeting in Huron County to defend the book before hostile parents who wanted it — and Munro’s stories — banned from the school curriculum. It was an interesting night. Bill French, then book columnist for The Globe and Mail, wrote an insightful and humorous column that won a national newspaper award. It’s a marvellous column that says a lot about book-banners and the religious fundamentalists who led the attack.1 But June never wrote about that night. She never wrote directly about anything she was involved in. She called it her “Chinese Wall.”
June also led the campaign to defend Ian Adams’s book S: Portrait of a Spy. Adams had been charged with libel, and she organized a revue to raise money for his defence. She didn’t write about her involvement in this campaign either. June’s writing on censorship dealt mostly with pornography. She contributed a chapter to an anthology of essays called Women Against Censorship, which was edited by Varda Burstyn and published by Douglas & McIntyre in 1985. June was a defence witness in the obscenity charges against “Men Loving Boys Loving Men” and “Love with a Very Perfect Stranger,” both Body Politic articles by Gerald Hannon. The press accounts are skimpy and June’s name never appeared. She also went to Winnipeg as an expert witness for news dealers charged with selling Penthouse. 8
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While June was union chairman, she also held a day-long reading of The Diviners at a Toronto church to raise money and publicity for the union’s activities. She recruited prominent writers to read a passage from the book. Each writer took a turn, reading for about 10 or 15 minutes, and then turned over the book to the next writer. This reading went on all day, and June told me the place was packed. She didn’t write about that either.
June gave a lot of speeches. She ended many of them with a quotation from J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, another book the religious right found offensive: “I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in the big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids and nobody’s around — nobody big I mean — except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going. I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be a catcher in the rye.” l Joyce Douglas is a writer and former journalism instructor at Ryerson University in Toronto. 1 William French, “The Good Book versus Good Books” The Globe and Mail,
14 June 1978.
June Callwood made an enormous contribution to Canada, defending the freedom of expression of writers and arguing against censorship in her work as a journalist and activist. Though two decades have passed since Callwood wrote these articles, her challenge to complacency is still resonant today.
Censorship: What Is and What’s Not originally published in the globe and mail on oct. 31, 1985
By June Callwood
pponents of censorship stand on a dim, wavering line. Many people oppose censorship only occasionally. They may rally to the cause of freedom to read when Margaret Laurence’s The Diviners is declared to be unfit for high school students, but fewer will feel indignant when the attack is on the gay and lesbian community’s freedom to read, as is happening now with customs officers savaging books and periodicals ordered by Toronto’s Glad Day Bookshop. Whatever the stresses of fighting censorship selectively, there is at least a clear target about which to mobilize or not. The real cause for alarm in this society, in any society, is censorship which is invisible and therefore rallies no one. When superb Canadian books such as Timothy Findley’s The Wars and Farley Mowat’s And No Birds Sang do not appear on high school reading lists, is that tight budgets, as the schools claim, or censorship? And when Rick Salutin’s television play about John Grierson, onetime head of the National Film Board, and Igor Gouzenko, Soviet Embassy cipher clerk in the 1940s, was pulled from the CBC’s fall schedule, was that censorship or a simple program change? Rick Salutin himself isn’t sure. After numerous telephone calls to CBC executives, he has come to the conclusion
on the basis of hints that he says he may have interpreted incorrectly that Grierson and Gouzenko is likely to be buried in a time slot such as one o’clock some Sunday afternoon. He is proud of the film, which in some ways is a mid-life culmination. As a persistent critic of the establishment from a socialist perspective, he has been fascinated with the impact of Igor Gouzenko’s defection almost 40
has won major awards both as a playwright and as a journalist. He was gratified that the CBC purchased the script for a series on Canadian history and gave it a first-class production. Martin Kinch directed, Eric Peterson played Grierson and Saul Rubinek was Gouzenko. Jack Craine, CBC television program chief, says that the play will be “removed from limbo” in the next few
The real cause for alarm in this society, in any society, is censorship which is invisible and therefore rallies no one. years ago on the Cold War and events in Canada. Mr. Gouzenko’s testimony about Canadians giving information to the Soviets resulted in governmental purges in Canada that were as pervasive as they were discreet. Perhaps coincidentally, the National Film Board suffered severe cutbacks. The government claimed that it was motivated solely by budget considerations, but Mr. Salutin believes that the NFB was deliberately lamed because it was suspected of leftist sympathies. The dismantling of the NFB was “the most socially and culturally significant case of censorship in this country,” he says. He spent a year writing Grierson and Gouzenko, eight months of that in concentrated activity. His credentials for such an undertaking are impressive: he
weeks and likely will be aired in March. Mr. Salutin feels violated but confused. “How do you know what is censorship?” he wonders. That’s a large question. In the current issue of Content magazine, Robert A. Hackett, assistant professor in the Department of Communication at Simon Fraser University, writes an open letter to the circulation department of The Vancouver Sun in which he deplores what he reads in the paper and what isn’t there to read. He declares that the Sun and all mainstream media promote consumerism in order to sell advertising. “By addressing your readers as consumers and as passive spectators of politics,” he writes, “it becomes easier for your paper to ignore the CONTINUED ON PAGE 16
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Survey of Censorship in 50 Countries Yields Depressing Results originally published in the globe and mail on june 22, 1988
By June Callwood
illiam Shawcross, a distinguished British journalist who is chairman of the new international censor-watching organization Article 19, observed that fundamentally, most people are in favour of some sort of censorship. “Almost everyone believes that there are some things, personal or otherwise, which he or she would rather were left unsaid.” For that reason, he said, freedom from censorship is a hard cause to fight for. However, Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights optimistically declares: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers.” The organization Article 19, sub-titled International Centre on Censorship, was formed in 1986 to combat censorship around the world and promote freedom of expression everywhere. “Freedom of speech is indivisible,” William Shawcross explained. “We are here to defend it, whenever and wherever. Once that freedom is lost, all other freedoms are lost with it.” The difficulty lies in the fact that the speech Article 19 must defend is always a view which is unpopular with the state, or with a religion, or a race, or women, or some other identifiable group. The only freedom of speech which everyone approves of is the freedom to speak that with which they agree. Based in London, Article 19 floats on
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a fortune that U.S. journalist-philanthropist J. Roderick MacArthur made from selling commemorative porcelain plates. The American, whose passionate opposition to censorship was formed in a working lifetime of watching governments and clergy stifle opinion, believed that a new international organization was needed to be a watchdog on media freedom. Amnesty International works valiantly to free non-violent political prisoners, and PEN’s Writers in Prison seeks the release of writers who have offended the state with their views, but no one was addressing the silencing of ideas. Roderick MacArthur died in 1985, but his three children, age 20 to 35, decided to carry out his intentions. So far they have put about $1 million into Article 19. The organization is headed by a genial Irishman, Kevin Boyle, a professor of law who as a youth 20 years ago founded a civil-rights campaign in Ulster and is co-author of a book, Ireland: A Positive Proposal, which outlines a plan to achieve a peaceful resolution to the slaughter in Northern Ireland. Last month, Kevin Boyle was in Toronto to talk to writers Jan Bauer and Catherine Wismer and other Canadian members of PEN about their participation in a global network of data-collecting that Article 19 is attempting to put together. The goal is to monitor how the world’s nations are living up to their obligations as signatories to the U.N.’s Article 19. The survey has begun and the results so far have been desolating. In North Korea, all radios have fixed dials to prevent people from listening to broadcasts which aren’t governmentcontrolled. Yugoslavia has a law against “malicious” or “untruthful” comments about
the state; in March of 1987, a mining engineer in Tuzla was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for saying that the government was responsible for the country’s economic crisis. In Taiwan, newspapers and magazines must get a government licence to publish, and most journalists belong to the Kuomintang. In South Africa, censorship extends to slogans on T-shirts, and 18,000 books have been banned. In Ghana, the media don’t report arrests and detentions, demonstrations or statements critical of the government. In Zaire, in a threemonth period in the winter of 1985, more than 100 people were arrested for criticizing the government. Chile has had a law since 1984 which prohibits statements which offend government officials, and truth is not allowed as a defence. In Nicaragua, the respected La Prensa was subjected to such severe censorship that 40 per cent of the newspaper’s content was deleted. In Romania, citizens must obtain a government licence to own a typewriter and are required to buy it from the militia. All these disclosures are contained in Information, Freedom and Censorship, a calm, even-handed study of censorship in 50 countries compiled by Article 19 and about to be published in North America by Times Books. Of the 50 countries included, only 11 have newspapers free of government interference. Canada is one of the 50 nations examined, and note is made, without comment, of the country’s severe libel, hate and obscenity laws. As well, it is observed dispassionately that in Alberta a member of the Legislative Assembly was disciplined for speaking French, CONTINUED ON PAGE 18
Rogue Elephants and Press Freedom On Feb. 6, 2006, reporter Juliet O’Neill delivered the seventh annual Kesterton Lecture at the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University in Ottawa. In the following excerpts, she describes the RCMP raids on her home and office at the Ottawa Citizen in January 2004 after she had used information provided by a government informant to write a news story about the Maher Arar affair.
By Juliet O’Neill
reedom of the press is not an absolute right; no more than any other right is absolute. And journalists are not above the law. We make no such claims. However, journalists should not be treated as an arm of law enforcement. Nor should they be made targets of police action to save a government or government agency from embarrassment. Both of these things have been happening in Canada. . . . I will take this opportunity to share some of the lessons I learned the hard way about the rights of citizens and journalists if the police turn up at their door, as they did mine. . . . In my case, they [the RCMP] took documents and files, copies of my computer hard drives, contact lists, datebooks, tapes and notebooks. They are all literally sealed in big plastic baggies and they’re in custody of the court, locked in a vault. Investigators are not allowed to examine the material until a judge agrees they can. That is at the heart of our case — to get my material back, with its confidentiality protected. The search warrant should list exactly what the police can look for and what they can seize. The judge who issues the search warrant is supposed to craft conditions to minimize the intrusion on freedom of the press, so the reporter should check for conditions when they read the warrant. If the conditions are not being followed, make a note of it for later. There were no special conditions relating to freedom of the press in the
warrants used in my case and that is one of our arguments in the court case. If the warrant does not order the material sealed, get a lawyer to intervene as fast as possible. When notified the search was underway, our lawyers called the Crown counsel and he immediately advised the RCMP to seal the material. The RCMP followed that advice. It’s unlikely police will refuse; it would show bad faith. During a search, the police have the authority to look only in the place where they can reasonably expect to find the identified material. As lawyer David Paciocco says: “They cannot search for a stolen piano in an underwear drawer, but they can search for stolen underwear in a piano bench.” Again, if they are going beyond their authority, a note should be made of it. ... You do not have to physically help police conduct their search. I did not know that. They asked for the key to a filing cabinet and I gave it to them. The first thing they asked was to take them to my computer, so they could disable it. I took them to the computer. They wanted to ensure I was not purging material to another location. ... You are not under detention when police are executing a search warrant. In my case, I did not want to leave my house full of strangers. I was asked to go away with an RCMP officer to his office to discuss sources and documents. I declined. I was not legally obligated to go with him. Nor was I under arrest, although I was sick with worry during the entire five hours that I would be arrested afterward because the warrants spelled out alleged crimi-
nal offences and the officer told me he understood I was going to be charged. If they try to stop you from calling a lawyer, they have to have a really good reason because at that point they are starting to detain you and they’re interfering in your right to counsel. They may delay your phone call if they need to “secure the premises” like they do in drug cases where other people in the house may be swallowing or flushing evidence down the toilet. If you are ever searched and refused the right to call a lawyer immediately, you should ask why and record the answer. Keep asking “Can I call now?” every few minutes so there will be no question that you wanted to call. They must allow the call at the first reasonable opportunity. ... A golden rule is to say as little as possible. ... However, keep in mind that the police do not have a right to remain silent, so if you have the fortitude to question them without disclosing anything yourself, go ahead. To calm myself during the search, I took notes, jotted down times, and eventually turned my tape recorder on. I needed to do something familiar and went on automatic pilot as a reporter. Notes and tape can also come in handy later because the manner in which a search is carried out has to be appropriate and there are also legal doctrines about the motives of the police and the way they treat individuals. Keeping a record can be helpful to your legal team. Depending on the situation, you might want someone to alert the media what’s happening. ... When word of the RCMP raids spread, CONTINUED ON PAGE 13
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An Interview with Journalist Derek Finkle
By Benita Aalto
n June 28, 2007, a judge in Toronto denied a Crown demand for a journalist’s research on a crime story. Justice David Watt of the Superior Court of Ontario quashed a Crown subpoena for Derek Finkle’s research on the Elizabeth Bain murder case. The research, which Finkle had used to write a book, includes Finkle’s interviews with accused murderer Robert Baltovich, Baltovich’s prison journals and Finkle’s confidential interviews with lawyers. In demanding Finkle’s research, the Crown was seeking new evidence that Baltovich had murdered Bain, his 22year-old girlfriend, in 1990. In resisting 12
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the subpoena, Finkle was seeking to protect his journalistic independence from the state. In 1990, Bain disappeared and was never seen again. In 1992, Baltovich was convicted of Bain’s murder, and he spent the next eight years in prison. But in 1998, Finkle published No Claim to Mercy. The book criticizes the police investigation and the prosecution, and suggests that Baltovich did not commit the murder. In 2000, after his lawyers presented new evidence which cast doubt on Baltovich’s responsibility for the crime, Baltovich was released from prison on bail. In the fall of 2007, he was still awaiting a new trial. Benita Aalto interviewed Derek Finkle in August 2007. B.A. How did you get the courage to face down the police and the Crown? Did
you feel courageous, or were you just maintaining a professional standard? D.F. Well, it certainly didn’t feel courageous or heroic. The first feeling I had upon being served with the subpoena was one of anger. They wanted to use materials that I had gathered for my book about the controversial murder conviction of Robert Baltovich to prosecute him at his second trial, which gets under way this fall. It was pretty clear from the beginning that even though the Crown attorneys in charge officially demanded all of my research material, what they were really interested in obtaining were any interviews or written correspondence between Baltovich and me while the book was being researched. Obviously, I didn’t think that was appropriate for a whole host of reasons, including the fact
that it’s already hard enough to convince someone like Robert Baltovich — who, back when we first met in 1995, was serving a life sentence for a crime he claimed to be innocent of — to open up to a member of the same press that had fairly resoundingly condemned him a few years earlier. If subjects and sources don’t perceive that journalists operate independently from state investigators, this would seriously hamper news gathering in our country. So I had two choices: hand over more than a dozen years’ worth of research or fight the subpoena. Even though it chewed up an enormous amount of my time and resources, I chose to fight. B.A. How does a journalist balance the public good (the arrest of criminals, freeing the falsely accused or the exposure of government corruption) with the needs of a free press (the right to confidential sources)? Is a free press automatically in conflict with government agencies? D.F. I don’t think so, but it seems inevitable that the needs of a free press and the state are occasionally going to be at odds. And that’s why we must call upon the courts to help us out once in a while. In my case, Justice David Watt saw the light and ruled in our favour, quashing the subpoena. But one thing I learned from this experience is that lawyers — especially Crown attorneys — hold the responsibilities and duties of their profession in very high regard. If all Crown attorneys had even half that amount of respect for journalists and the role of a free press, there would be a lot less subpoenas and search warrants served on writers and reporters in this country.
B.A. What do you think of the state of investigative journalism in Canada currently?
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media to ensure nothing could happen without witnesses and instant reports. Think of the people who are not so fortunate, who fear the knock on the door, who fear saying anything, who fear saying nothing, who fear that in either case they may be branded terrorists and will never get their normal lives back. ...
journalists camped out in my yard. The sight of my colleagues when I looked out the window gave me comfort and courage. I was not isolated; the RCMP in my house listened to the news on CBC Radio about what they were doing as they were doing it. It struck me how fortunate I was to have Citizen lawyers to call upon and
D.F. With the exception of a few bright lights, I don’t think there’s much to write home about. There are many reasons for this: the size of our country, complacency and money. Investigative journalism is expensive. A few people in the magazine industry have written about how I tried to revive investigative magazine reporting in Canada when I was the editor of Toro magazine. True or not, investigative journalism certainly needed resuscitation because the form is practically dead — in Canadian magazines, anyway. Why is this? As I said, a lot of it is about money. How can freelance writers devote months of their lives to a feature story for $5,000 (which has pretty much been the top dollar in Canada for more than two decades)? Editors who make six-figure salaries say they don’t have the money in their budgets to pay more — even for important stories. Which means that (a) you get the kind of investigative reporting that can be done on the cheap and/or (b) good investigative journalists don’t really get brought along and develop reputations the way their compatriots south of the border do. They either become editors (for the paycheque), head to New York or move on. It’s a real problem. B.A. Has your experience cast a chill on other journalists or publishers? D.F. This sort of thing is always a bit hard to gauge in any sort of scientific manner, but I’ve noticed that journalists are much more careful about what they
A silver lining is that events like this give me an opportunity to thank those who make it their business to guard
do with their research material before a story is published. If reporters think there’s the slightest chance of being served a subpoena or the subject of a search warrant, they get the material out of their possession, using a variety of somewhat inventive schemes. When it comes to books and other detailed accounts, I worry that journalists are going to become much more secretive about acknowledging their research and source material as a result of subpoenas such as the one served on me last fall [in 2006]. I know I would think twice about being so open next time. And that’s no good for anyone. B.A. Describe the support you’ve received from the Canadian Association of Journalists and Canadian Journalists for Free Expression. D.F. Not long after my subpoena was reported in the news late last year, five different organizations — the Canadian Association of Journalists, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, PEN Canada, the Professional Writers Association of Canada and the Writers’ Union of Canada — retained their own lawyer, John Norris, to obtain intervener status at my hearing last May. John’s arguments at the hearing were very brief (and much praised by Justice Watt in his decision), but I felt it was important for the judge to see that I wasn’t alone in opposing the subpoena. It wasn’t just one freelance writer with conspiracy-theory paranoia sitting before this judge; every writer and journalist in the country was there in symbolic protest through Mr. Norris. It was a tremendous psychological boost to have that support. l freedom of the press. It’s one thing to have freedoms and rights inscribed on paper. It’s another to breathe life into them, to exercise them and to push back when they are threatened. In Canada, at least, I believe that because of the court rulings we have won so far and because of the public outcry, the chances are much lower that it will happen again. l The unabridged lecture can be found on the website of Carleton University.
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Talking About My
ILLUSTRATION by SYLVIA NICKERSON
Facebook, Free Speech and the Generation Gap By Paige Desmond
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acebook — the online social networking site — has more than 31 million users worldwide. Facebook is also one of the fastest-growing social networking sites: more than 100,000 new users have joined per day since January 2007. The site’s fastest growth is in Canada. Facebook gives people the ability to post their entire lives online. With their accounts, users can post their birthdates, photos of their latest adventures and even notes between friends for everyone to see. But some Facebookers catch heat for what they post. In January 2007, at Robert F. Hall Catholic Secondary School in Caledon East, Ont., students created a site that was less than kind to the principal. “A number of students created a Facebook page and participated in posting entries that, in varying degrees, slandered the school principal,” says Bruce Campbell, spokesperson for the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board. “Committing these acts online is a new dimension of traditional bullying or harassment.” The board’s code of conduct penalizes bullying. Nineteen students received school suspensions that ranged from three to eight days in length.
ARE SUSPENSIONS NECESSARY? Maija Saari is a journalism professor at Wilfrid Laurier University in Brantford, Ont. A Facebook member herself, Saari is part of the fastest-growing Facebook demographic, people aged 25 and older. She looks at the incident differently. “First, it hurts anyone’s feelings to overhear personal criticism or negative gossip, and reading it online is no different,” Saari says. “That said, students have bitched about professors since the dawn of time, [just] as employees bitch about bosses and so forth.” Saari recognizes that some attacks are more serious than others. But her
advice to the targets of negative commentary — particularly people in authority — is to have thick skins and to not take attacks personally. Of the teacherstudent relationship, Saari notes that teachers are in control. “It isn’t an equal power relationship,” she says. People can also report unfair or harassing messages that appear on Facebook. “You can ‘un-friend’ a person or block someone from messaging you in a thoughtless way,” Saari says.
AN OFFENSIVE “FAN CLUB” Seeing and responding to offensive postings on Facebook can have surprising consequences too. In April 2007, Carla Kowalyk, a criminology student at Wilfrid Laurier
made in poor taste,” says Kowalyk. “Within 24 hours, more than 1,000 people had joined my site.” But Facebook shut down Kowalyk’s protest site after some of her group’s members sent hate mail to the creator of the Paul Bernardo fan club. Facebook’s reason for shutting down Kowalyk’s site: it promoted hatred. “Which is a pretty big joke,” says Kowalyk.
THE THREAT OF LIBEL CHILL Libel is legally defined as any published or broadcast statement that causes harm to a person’s or a corporation’s reputation. Libel suits can be costly. The threat of libel suits could affect freedom of speech online, says Michael Geist, Canada research chair in Internet and
In today’s wired world, libel is an easy offence to commit. How, then, should derogatory or offensive postings be handled? Is greater control of online media required? Or is permissiveness acceptable? University, stumbled across a “fan club” for Paul Bernardo on Facebook. Bernardo was convicted in 1995 for the sadistic rape and murder of teens Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French in southern Ontario. A student in Michigan had created the Facebook site. On Facebook, members can make their groups “private” or “public.” In private groups, members must be invited to get in. In public groups, anyone can join. The Paul Bernardo fan club, although defended by its creator as a private joke among friends, was open to the public. Kowalyk decided to act. “I created a group demanding Facebook take this fan club down because it promoted violence and was
e-commerce law at the University of Ottawa. “It [the threat of a libel suit] may have a chilling effect,” he explains, particularly on people who want to post controversial comments online. To avoid libel suits, writers may play it safe. They may avoid posting their remarks or other writers’ feedback. The result could be a setback for free speech. Ira Nayman, a new-media lecturer at Ryerson University in Toronto, agrees. He also suggests that the growing popularity of social networking sites could trigger more disputes over online commentary. “To break through the clutter of CONTINUED ON PAGE 16
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websites and get some mainstream media attention, creators have to fall back on traditional ideas of self-promotion,” says Nayman. In his experience, the more outrageous the content, the likelier it is to get wider attention. “But people don’t seem to realize that what they post on websites such as Facebook — even if the messages appear in private — can easily be copied and read by anybody on the Internet,” he says. In today’s wired world, libel is an easy offence to commit. How, then, should derogatory or offensive postings be handled? Is greater control of online media required? Or is permissiveness acceptable? When students in secondary schools are involved, Geist believes mass suspension is the wrong prescription. But he and Campbell agree that education is important. “I think there is a need to use these incidents to educate students about social media, privacy and appropriate behaviour in class,” Geist says. “Parents must endeavour to be aware of what activities their children are engaging in and who their children are
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fundamental inequalities of wealth and power in Canada . . . ” This view is shared by the president of the Centre for Investigative Journalists, CBC producer Nick Fillmore. Mr. Fillmore, with a number of other writers including Walter Stewart, dean of journalism at Dalhousie University, and John Sawatsky, respected author of two investigative books on the RCMP and the Canadian security service, is attempting to raise money from corporations, foundations and private citizens to convert the Ottawa-based Goodwin’s magazine into
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speaking with online,” Campbell says. “The parents must be aware of their children’s Internet use.”
DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES Nayman and Saari believe that a difference in attitude toward social networking sites exists between older and younger people. The difference might help explain why some younger people post daring messages online. Nayman suggests, for example, that many adults see social networking sites as just a new form of publishing and that the laws that govern the publication of books and magazines apply to social networking sites as well. Younger users of Facebook, however, may liken their posts to casual talk with their classmates or peers. They may see the Internet more like an Information Hallway than an Information Highway. “There is some talk in the literature that young people don’t have the same sense of a divide between public and private in their lives as people [do] in my generation,” Saari says. “When you publish comments [online], you should be prepared to stand behind your statements or face the consequences of your publication.”
a vehicle for “important stories that are not being done.” “For every investigative story that gets published,” Mr. Fillmore says, “10 get missed or suppressed.” Ann Pappert, a freelance magazine writer who is also involved in the Goodwin’s project, comments, “Editors want up-beat stuff. Nothing depressing.” In the current issue of Quill & Quire, Ann Vanderhoof writes that Quest folded because editor Michael Enright “offered his readers no service pieces and provided few cheery items to break up a steady diet of stories about depression, wife batterers and the children of
“People misunderstand the power of words,” says Nayman. “They assume that because somebody has written that he would like to kill a teacher, then that’s almost as good as doing it. The mindset is understandable postColumbine.1 “But the vast majority of people are venting anger and frustration when they say things like that,” Nayman adds. “We should all chill out, and we should cut young people some slack because they don’t have the same concept of the consequences of words as adults do.” In the years to come, people will test the limits of free expression online. More incidents like the one at Robert F. Hall Catholic Secondary School will occur. The trick will be reminding social networkers of the gap between how they use technology in place of face-to-face talking and how Canada’s libel laws apply to their published posts. l Paige Desmond is a freelance journalist in Brantford, Ont. 1 In 1999, two students — Eric Harris and Dylan
Klebold — murdered 12 students and a teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. Harris and Klebold also wounded others before killing themselves. The killers had planned the massacre for more than a year.
lesbians, stories calculated to take the glow off any reader’s day.” “The range of ideas available to the average person in Canada is incredibly narrow,” Rick Salutin reflects. “The general drift of the media is toward appalling fluff. Censorship, whatever form it takes, is a denial of the right to participate in society as a citizen.” Censorship is difficult enough to combat when it shows itself. When it hides under rationalization, as most censorship does, the battle is nearly hopeless. l Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
THE 2010® OLYMPICS®
Creative Licence, Licensing and the Law
By Kimberly Baker
first heard about Canada’s new Olympic and Paralympic Marks Act when I was printing off my artwork for this year’s graduation exhibition at the Emily Carr Institute in Vancouver. My artwork, the Transit Shelter Project, focuses on the current debates around the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and homelessness. As my artwork ran off the printer, the technician asked, “You know that these are illegal?” I replied that I had used different Pantone colours and computer fonts so I wasn’t infringing upon any copyright laws. “What I mean is VANOC1 has copyrighted the number 2010,” he added. I was completely floored and asked how anyone could copyright a number. “I don’t know,” he retorted, “but they have. Didn’t you see the article on the front page of The Vancouver Sun that listed everything that you are not allowed to do? I suggest you look it up on the Internet.” Sure enough, an investigation showed that Canada had passed the Olympic and Paralympic Marks Act. The legislation provides the Vancouver Olympic organizers with extreme power over Olympic symbols and language. I had been so careful designing these posters, but it was too late to redo them in time for the show, so I decided to hang them, regardless. Quite honestly, I didn’t think anyone would notice my work among all the others. Nevertheless, on the night of the grad show, crowds gathered in front of my poster. In the following week, The Vancouver Sun reviewed the work of four artists
from the grad show. My poster was one of them. And though photos of my colleagues’ artwork appeared in the article, no photo of my artwork appeared. Had The Vancouver Sun been so intimidated by the law that the newspaper wouldn’t print any image of Vancouver 2010 ? I wondered if VANOC would actually sue the newspaper, and I began to think about the larger issues at stake. What happens when the organizers of a cultural event such as the Olympics are
given so much power that they overrule our civil liberties? In my opinion, the Olympic and Paralympic Marks Act was a direct infringement of our freedom of expression under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Throughout history, artists have played an important role, turning their art into a political tool that questions and confronts existing power structures. Today, many artists maintain the CONTINUED ON PAGE 18
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tradition of communicating the world’s social and political struggles while the shifting social realities of our time have led to questions about the definition of art and art’s place in the world and the artist’s role within it. Canadian artists such as Carl Beam combine painting with found objects such as newspaper articles and advertisements as a way of incorporating the symbols of contemporary culture. In Vancouver, emerging artists such as Sonny Assu appropriate pop culture symbols and reconfigure them into political symbols. In this way, the relevant issues become visible to a broader, public audience and challenge the notions of political authority. For a socio-political artist such as me, the Olympic and Paralympic Marks Act presents significant challenges. I decided that more in-depth research was required to see just how far this new law extended. An online search of the Canadian Intellectual Property database revealed that many “Vancouver 2010” marks and logo designs had been registered in the name of VANOC under Section 9(1) (n) (iii), and they constitute “official” marks, which give the registrants even more protection than trademarks. I also consulted with three lawyers, all specialists in intellectual property law, and the main issue appeared to be one of trademark infringement. Because “Vancouver 2010” was covered as a trademark, it didn’t matter whether I spelled out the number SURVEY OF CENSORSHIP . . . BY JUNE CALLWOOD CONTINUED FROM PAGE 10
and that in Quebec the use of English is restricted. Every five years, some U.N. countries must submit a report on their progress in fulfilling their commitment to the documents they have signed. Belgium, Colombia, Barbados and Japan are due next, so this week the small 10-person staff of Article 19 in London is preparing its own report on those nations. Ko Braun, an area organizer for Article 19, 18
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2010 or converted it in some other way. I was still exposing myself to a potential lawsuit. I was advised that if money were no object, I might be able to defend a claim of freedom of expression under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I might also make a more technical argument that I was not “using” the trademark as is commonly understood in the case law about trademarks; that is, I wasn’t selling any goods or services and I was distributing my posters free of charge. I might also argue that “depreciation of goodwill” is wrongly equated with lack of respect shown to a trademark. But apart from being very costly, a legal case would take years, and the verdict was certain to be appealed if lost at trial. One lawyer suggested that I contact the president of VANOC directly and arrange a 10-minute meeting to find out if VANOC would take legal action to prevent the distribution of my posters. I spoke with Colin Jarvis, manager of commercial rights management, who was very accommodating and open to answering all my questions. He assured me that VANOC is not interested in litigation with artists and that artists have a right to critique. He gave several examples of possible trademark infringement that VANOC would consider. In one example, an artist creates a single mug that depicts the Olympics in some way. Creating a single mug would be fine because it would be considered art. But if the artist produces 1,000 mugs
and sold a 100 a week for profit, VANOC would see the artist’s work as illegal “ambush marketing.” Jarvis said that VANOC would not have a problem with my posters. However, if I put them up on billboards across the Downtown Eastside, there would be a problem because that action would be considered more in the light of my creating a “campaign,” as opposed to my displaying a work of art. So how do I know where the threshold is before I cross the boundary into creating allegedly illegal art? Although VANOC may have no intention of shutting down artists who criticize the Olympics, artists who work in the area of appropriation art are being limited by the Olympic and Paralympic Marks Act, and the placement of their art will be limited to the institutionalized gallery system. But I don’t see VANOC as the villain in this scenario; the larger problem is our legal system, which favours corporatism over creativity. Art is a reflection of our contemporary culture and needs space within the public sphere to prompt public discussion and to reflect our time and place in history. Art is not static, and intellectual property legislation today has not kept up with the changes in the modern art world. l
says it will note Belgium’s poor record of respecting language rights; Japan’s efforts to create an official secrets act and freedom of information bill; the improvements in free speech in Barbados; and the continuing horror of Colombia’s gangsterland, where drug barons rule. In December, the editor of El Espectador was killed for advocating the extradition of drug traffickers to the United States. As Ko Braun noted with resignation, “Everyone seems to think there should
be some censorship.” Only of improper comment, of course. In the book’s introduction, Kevin Boyle put a compelling argument for a society to have the confidence in itself to tolerate even abhorrent opinions rather than legalize suppression. He wrote: “Without a voice and the right to put forward views, the citizen cannot contribute to political and social change.” l
Kimberly Baker is an artist in Vancouver. This story appeared in Common Ground magazine in August 2007. 1 VANOC is the short name for the Vancouver
Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
EDITORIAL INDEPENDENCE IN THE ELECTRONIC AGE
New Threats, Old Owners?
By John Hoey
ditorial independence is the indispensable principle that nourishes the soul of a scientific journal. For an intellectual community to function at a high level, editors must insist upon the principle of intellectual integrity and defend the rights of authors to speak openly and honestly. While the extent of editorial freedom is broad, there are some limits imposed by the nature of the publication. A general medical journal, for example, would not normally publish articles on theoretical physics. Yet if editors of general medical journals choose to publish articles on the various determinants of health, the resulting compass of editorial independence is wide. The only way to know the boundary is for the editor
to publish material that is close to the boundary and gauge the reaction of the publisher and readers. For example, The Lancet’s editorial rebuke of its publisher Elsevier for its business operations in the arms trade helps demonstrate and define The Lancet’s editorial independence for its publisher — and simultaneously for its editor. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors/World Association of Medical Editors in its statement of editorial principles says: “Editors should base decisions on the validity of the work and its importance to the journal’s readers, not on the commercial success of the journal.” I suspect this ICMJE admonition/ guideline is included to define a clear boundary in a narrow area: a pharmaceutical company’s support of a medical or health sciences journal should come with no strings attached. For example, the editors of a respected medical
journal should not be influenced in their decisions about a manuscript funded by a pharmaceutical company that describes a patent-protected drug by the knowledge that if they accept it, the journal’s publisher will pocket very large sums from the pharmaceutical company for article reprints that they can distribute to physicians to encourage prescriptions of the drug. Or that the owners should seek advertisements from commercial companies and charge extra fees to have them placed adjacent to favourable articles about their products. The top journals have adopted policies to control this type of commercial influence on editorial independence. Editors are profoundly interested, or should be, in the profitability of their publication. It costs money to run a journal. At a minimum, the editor’s interest must extend to achieving the break-even point between revenue and expenses. For CONTINUED ON PAGE 20
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owners, any profit from their journal is not only desirable but also, for commercial companies like Elsevier, essential. Top-tier, high-impact journals have multiple revenue streams, including substantial individual and library subscriptions, reprint sales, and commercial and classified advertising. Those journals with lower impact have subscription bases that are usually limited to sponsoring society members. Because they rarely publish top-tier research, income from reprint sales is low or absent, and the income of these journals is almost entirely dependent on commercial and classified advertising. To avoid owners’ involvement in day-to-day editorial decisions, most of these journals have relatively non-porous Chinese walls that separate their editorial and commercial divisions. Thus they preserve editorial independence from commercial bias. But to cover their editorial and print and mailing costs, these journals rely almost entirely on advertising revenue which is derived entirely from the print journal readership — a readership that is stagnant or shrinking for low-impact journals but must be maintained and even increased if the journal is to continue to cover its costs. More importantly, journal readership and authorship have been profoundly influenced by the web. In 1997, the U.S. Library of Medicine put its entire Medline collection on the web (as PubMed) and made access free to users. A year later, Richard Smith, then editor of British Medical Journal (BMJ), put the entire contents of BMJ on the web. As a result, in 2007, even after BMJ closed its site to non-subscribing visitors, it had at its most recent survey 1,216,000 unique users while the print version’s circulation remained a fraction of that. Seeing this success, the editors of almost all other journals followed the BMJ example. For low-impact journals, it is unlikely that revenue from the web will keep
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pace with costs. The web, which paradoxically cripples low-impact journals, creates opportunities for journals with different diffusion models. When former editors and board members of Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) created Open Medicine at http://www. openmedicine.ca, they used the free journal publishing software of the Public Knowledge Project led by John Willinsky. (See http://pkp.sfu.ca.) Its Open Journal Systems now house over 900 journals in 10 different languages. This model immediately avoids about half of the standard journal costs such as paper, printing and mailing of the journal. PLoSONE, the newest journal incubated by the Public Library of Science, is designed to publish high-quality research, opinion and commentary. The low cost is entirely paid for by smaller author levies for accepted articles, currently set at US$1,250. This model uses a large number of volunteer editors who receive submitted articles and can decide whether to peer review them, to request revised manuscripts and to make decisions on publication. Backing up this abbreviated prepublication peer and editorial review at PLoSONE is a serious attempt to facilitate post-publication peer review via reader comments that are inserted directly into the published article, discussion groups that can be generated by readers and a reader rating system similar to video ratings on YouTube. Thus, over time, articles should emerge that have considered rankings by readers. Also, one could examine article citations — a measure of the article’s importance — with Google Scholar’s free citation base. Another way to reduce commercial pressures on editorial independence is to remove direct editorial costs by relying on communities of interested volunteers. Open Medicine might be an example. Open Medicine is anchored on two principles: (1) because pharmaceuti-
cal advertising places severe limits on editorial freedom, it must not be used to finance journal operations; (2) medical journals of high quality must be open and free to all end users whatever their economic resources. Science and medicine are part of the commons. In line with these principles and following to some extent the Wikipedia model, Open Medicine is a volunteer organization of editors, copy editors, technical support persons, media advisers and others that aims to publish high-quality research, commentary and opinion on health and health care. The scope of Open Medicine is determined by contributors, readers and anyone who wants to participate. Many will argue that co-operative intellectual enterprises are unsustainable. Others will argue that they bring just another form of editorial constraint, a sort of intellectual totalitarianism. Still others foresee a web that is payper-view, with very low per-view costs offset by high volume. Nonetheless, I’m encouraged by the 900 journals using the free software of the Open Knowledge Project, by the experiments of PLoSONE and Open Medicine and by the rapidly expanding communities of bloggers, podcasters, open software developers and Wikipedia-like contributors that populate the web. Perhaps we do have the intellectual energy to make free scientific publication work. By moving editors and editorial functions firmly into the public space, we will achieve the greatest and least encumbered forms of editorial freedom and independence. l This is an edited version of an essay that can be found on http://web.mac. com/john.hoey. John Hoey is an internist and public health physician. He is on the faculty at Queen’s University, where he develops public health resources. He was editor of Canadian Medical Association Journal from 1996 to 2006.
The Impact of Canada’s Charter on Free Expression A Conversation with Sanjeev Anand
By Benita Aalto
n April 17, 1982, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms came into effect as part of the Constitution Act, 1982. The charter guarantees, among other fundamental freedoms, freedom of the press and freedom of expression. Benita Aalto spoke to Sanjeev Anand, a professor of criminal and constitutional law at the University of Alberta, about the impact of the charter on Canadians 25 years and numerous challenges later. B.A. How has the charter affected freedom of expression in Canada? S.A. The charter is important. The government is internalizing the message of the charter by making sure the legislation that’s drafted is “charter-proof.” The charter has put limits on the type of legislation that the government wants to pass. When government officials want to limit expression, they have to be very careful. Gone are the days when they could say, “We’re putting a blanket proscription on a certain type of expression.” For example, Alberta once had a law that said that any editorial critiquing the government had to be vetted by the government. It was decided that the law was against the implied bill of rights, so the law was struck down. But implied rights are not the best protection of expression! Post-charter, the objective the government is trying to get at when limiting expression has to be very specific: it has to be narrowly circumscribed, it has to be minimally impairing of charter rights, and it has to merit overriding those charter rights. Before the charter,
if Parliamentarians wanted to pass legislation that said “Anyone who critiques the government is guilty of an indictable offence,” they could, legally. B.A. How is the charter significant, in general, to Canadians? S.A. The key thing is that the charter really does constrain the type of activities that government and government actors — such as the police — can engage in. The Law Reform Commission of Canada’s study of search warrants prior to the charter showed that the vast number of warrants wouldn’t make it into the courts today. The charter has become extremely important in the way criminal investigations are conducted. For example, prior to the charter, if the police engaged in illegal conduct to get evidence, the evidence was still presented at the trial. The possibility of exclusion of evidence is a real check on police abuses. B.A. How does the Canadian charter differ from the U.S. Bill of Rights? S.A. We’ve gone down a different road than the United States; the Americans allow more expression. For example, hate propaganda is constitutionally protected speech in the states. More expression is constitutionally protected there: if someone wants to spout hateful invective on TV, he can; in Canada, he’d be charged under the Criminal Code, but it would be unchallenged by the charter. We’ve struck a different balance in Canada. The government can always constrain expression if it proves to a court that limits on expressive activity are minimally impairing to other charter rights. Canadians have recognized that there are competing interests. B.A. What challenge do you think best
illustrates the power of the charter’s protection of freedom of expression? S.A. Two cases show the effect that the charter has had, both in protecting and in overriding individual rights. Holocaust denier and teacher Jim Keegstra was charged in 1984 under Section 319(2) of the Criminal Code, the wilful promotion of hate, but he appealed it, claiming that his charter right to free expression was being violated. To be guilty of hate speech under 319(2), the speaker has to be virtually certain that his speech will promote hatred in his listeners; it is an extreme form of detestation. The Supreme Court upheld the conviction because, though it did infringe on freedom of expression, the charge was specifically defined, it was minimally impairing of charter rights, it protected an identifiable group, and there was a pressing and compelling need. Contrast that [ruling] with the case of Holocaust denier and publisher Ernst Zundel, who was charged under Section 181 of the Criminal Code with the spreading of false news. He appealed and the majority of the Supreme Court eventually struck down Section 181 as unconstitutional. It didn’t deal with hate speech in particular; it dealt with any sort of false news. Section 181 was a broadly drafted provision that didn’t have the defences that Section 319(2) had, and it was not minimally impairing of the Charter of Rights. The lesson here is, if you have to impair rights, you go at it with a scalpel, not a pickaxe. l Sanjeev Anand is the co-author with Eric Colvin of Principles of Criminal Law, 3rd Edition (Toronto: Thomson Carswell, 2007).
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FREE SPEECH IN FEARFUL TIMES After 9/11 in Canada, the U.S., Australia & Europe Edited by James L. Turk and Allan Manson James Lorimer & Co., 2007
Reviewed by Franklin Carter
n Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists belonging to al-Qaida hijacked and flew two U.S. planes into the World Trade Center in New York City and one into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. A fourth hijacked plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania short of its target. Almost 3,000 people died in the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history. Within months, governments around the world passed laws aimed at capturing terrorists and frustrating their conspiracies. In the United States, Congress passed the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act. In Canada, Parliament passed the Antiterrorism Act. In Britain, Parliament passed the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act. Other measures followed. Governments granted their police and spy agencies new powers of investigation, arrest, detention and interrogation. Governments also made assurances that these powers would be used only to protect people from further atrocities. But critics — including journalists, lawyers and opposition politicians — began to argue that the anti-terrorism laws jeopardized the rights of peaceful citizens. Today, more than six years after alQaida’s attack on America, people still debate the impact of the anti-terrorism laws. Are people in the democracies safer now from terrorism? Or have people sacrificed important legal protections for their rights to privacy, free expression, freedom of association, and fair and open trials? Are people safer from their own governments?
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Russell from Cambridge University for opposing military conscription. During the Cold War, Chandler Davis lost his job at the University of Michigan and eventually went to prison in 1960 for challenging the authority of Congress to investigate communists.
Free Speech in Fearful Times edited by James L. Turk and Allan Manson (James Lorimer & Co., 2007)
In Free Speech in Fearful Times, 16 scholars from the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia and Austria address these questions. They argue that the anti-terrorism laws erode the rights and liberties of citizens in the democracies. The 16 essays focus especially on the laws’ impact on intellectual freedom in Western universities. The book is divided into three parts. In Part I, the essayists remind readers that governments in the 20th century abused the rights of scholars who expressed unpopular views during national crises. The essayists recount the ordeals of Bertrand Russell in Britain, Leopold Infeld in Canada, and Lee Lorch, Louis Weisner and Chandler Davis in the United States. During World War I, for example, British authorities dismissed Bertrand
Part II focuses on the post-Sept. 11 world. In two essays, Jonathan Cole and Robert O’Neil list the ways that U.S. officials degrade intellectual freedom at U.S. universities. Federal agents, for example, secretly monitor some of the web pages, e-mail and books that scholars read. Officials also regulate the publication of some scientific papers, monitor student protests against the war in Iraq and deny entry visas to some foreign professors. In Canada, Parliament enacted no new laws to criminalize “terrorist” speech or publications. But according to essayist Kent Roach, Parliament did not need to pass new laws: officials can rely on older anti-hate speech laws to suppress terrorist propaganda. These laws do not seem to jeopardize intemperate speech either. In 2001, when Prof. Sunera Thobani said that “U.S. foreign policy is soaked in blood,” she was denounced by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and Premier Gordon Campbell of B.C., but she kept her university post. In Part III, the essayists conclude — rather obviously — that we live in an age of fear, intellectual freedom is necessary for progress and scholars must resist threats to that freedom. Nonetheless, Free Speech in Fearful Times remains timely, informative and worth reading. l Franklin Carter is an editor in Toronto.
n November 2007, Library Journal announced that Toni Samek had won the first annual LJ Teaching Award for her promotion of intellectual freedom. Samek is an associate professor at the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Samek’s teaching of librarianship “is deeply informed by her commitment to, and scholarship in, human rights and the core values of the profession,” said Kenneth Gariepy, who nominated her for the award. “Her career is defined by her activist dedication to student understanding, learning, and success; the ethics of the information professions; and, most important, the application of these elements to the pursuit of social justice,” wrote John N. Berry III in the Nov. 15, 2007, issue of Library Journal. Samek will accept the award at a reception in Philadelphia in January 2008. The award, which is sponsored by ProQuest, comes with a US$5,000 prize. k
In November 2007, Alberta Theatre Projects bestowed the 33rd annual Bob Edwards Award on Gwynne Dyer at a luncheon in Calgary. Dyer is a Canadian journalist, author and filmmaker with an international reputation.
freedomtoread.ca CANADA’S EVENT CALENDAR FOR FREEDOM TO READ WEEK • A LIST OF BOOKS RECENTLY CHALLENGED IN CANADA • TIPS ON HOW TO OBSERVE FREEDOM TO READ WEEK • A CHRONOLOGY OF BOOK BANNINGS AND BURNINGS IN WORLD HISTORY • POSTER ART FOR 24 YEARS OF FREEDOM TO READ WEEK • LINKS TO OTHER ONLINE RESOURCES • AND MUCH MORE . . .
2007 Awards for Freedom of Expression/Freedom to Read
The award is named after the irascible editor of the Calgary Eye Opener. From 1902 to 1922, Edwards used his newspaper to goad the “crooked politicians, sanctimonious preachers and social snobs of his day.” The award celebrates inspiring Canadian thinkers who personify Edwards’s spirit. Past recipients include June Callwood, Rick Mercer, Rex Murphy, David Suzuki, W.O. Mitchell and Margaret Atwood. k
In October 2007, PEN Canada awarded the Paul Kidd Courage Prize to Stephanie Nolen of The Globe and Mail for her coverage of the AIDS crisis in Africa. Nolen is the author of 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa. The book was shortlisted for a Governor General’s Literary Award. The jury’s citation declared: “There are many kinds of courage: physical bravery; adherence to principle; speaking unpop-
ular truth to despotic power. The courage we recognize by awarding the Paul Kidd Courage Prize to Stephanie Nolen is a different kind of courage altogether. “Although she has often put her personal security on the line in pursuit of a story, it is her emotional courage that stands out. By staking out the HIV/ AIDS crisis in sub-Saharan Africa as her beat, Nolen has put herself in the midst of unspeakable human tragedy, day after day, month after month, and year after year. By simply refusing to look away, she has forced us all to share the horror of her own experiences. “In addition, by tracing the links between the HIV/AIDS crisis and political corruption, poverty, racism and international indifference, she has challenged those in power to act and ensured that the story does not die.” k
CONTINUED ON PAGE 24
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The Writers’ Union of Canada
EVIE FREEDMAN AND RON BROWN
ALI IMAN SHARMARKE CONTINUED FROM PAGE 23
In October 2007, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) announced that it was giving its International Press Freedom Awards to Farida Nekzad of Afghanistan and Sahar Al-Haideri of Iraq for “their commitment to freedom of expression and overcoming tremendous odds to report news.” Farida Nekzad works as a journalist promoting press freedom and women’s rights in Afghanistan. She is the editor in chief of the Pajhwok News Agency, the sole independent news agency in Afghanistan. Sahar Al-Haideri was killed in 2007 for reporting on humanitarian issues in Iraq, including the plight of women and minority groups. She wrote in the most dangerous circumstances, challenging and exposing the human rights violations of the extremist groups in her hometown of Mosul. CJFE also gave its Tara Singh Hayer Award to Ali Iman Sharmarke, a Somaliborn Canadian journalist. The award, which is named after the outspoken Canadian newspaper editor who was murdered in 1998, recognizes courageous Canadian journalists. Sharmarke was killed in Somalia on Aug. 11, 2007, when his car drove over a remote-controlled landmine. He was returning from the funeral of another journalist. Sharmarke had been working in Somalia to help rebuild the media in the war-shattered country. 24
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“We feel this year’s winners represent the best of the local journalists, working in impossible wartime conditions and never giving up until they get the story out,” said Carol Off, chair of the awards committee. “The fact that two out of three of our winners have died for their work is a stark reminder of how dangerous that work can be.” k
In May 2007, the Canadian Library Association (CLA) bestowed its annual Award for the Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canada on Canadian Journalists for Free Expression. CJFE is a non-governmental, non-profit organization supported by Canadian journalists and advocates of free expression. CJFE manages the world’s only freedom of expression network, the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX). CJFE also manages the Journalists in Distress Fund, which provides emergency legal, medical and safety aid to reporters around the world. “The work of CJFE deserves recognition as they defend the brave journalists who become human casualties in the struggle to control access to information,” declared the CLA. “Indeed, the importance of the information and truths that journalists fight to provide are core to the democratic principle of the right to information that Canadian librarians defend and hold in highest regard.” k
On May 2, World Press Freedom Day, the National Press Club of Canada (NPC) gave its Ninth Annual Press Freedom Award to Tarek Fatah. Fatah founded the Muslim Canadian Congress in 2001 and served as its communications director until death threats prompted him to step down in 2006. Spencer Moore, chair of the NPC’s Press Freedom Committee, said that the death threats that aimed at curbing Fatah’s free expression as a media commentator are threats to all Canadian journalists. “Although many journalists were killed in 2006 in war zones, there is evidence of threats, coercion and violent acts in many countries far from conflict zones,” Moore said. “Canada is not immune from the actions of those with no conception of the right to free expression in a democratic society and who seek to silence dissenting or sometimes unpopular opinions with threats of violence.” Jim Poling of The Hamilton Spectator was runner-up for the award. He was nominated for helping immigrant journalists find careers in Canadian media through his Internationally Trained Journalists’ Project. k
In March 2007, Nima Dorjee, a human rights activist and a director at the Schulich School of Engineering, won the Calgary Freedom of Expression Award from the Calgary Freedom to Read Week Committee.
Dorjee was a founder of the CanadaTibet Committee and World Tibet News, which provides subscribers with daily electronic news bulletins from international news services. He has also co-chaired the steering committee of the International Tibet Support Network and helped the Department of Education of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile develop its curriculum in computer education. “Technology has helped people to speak out,” Dorjee said. “The Internet has allowed many in oppressed communities to have a voice.” k
In 2007, for the first time ever, the Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC) gave its Freedom to Read Award to a child. Grade 5 student Evie Freedman, 10, was honoured for her defence of Deborah Ellis’s Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak after the book was pulled from some Ontario school libraries. Three Wishes consists of interviews with Israeli and Palestinian children who express their hopes, fears and hatred about the conflict in their region. In 2006, the Canadian Jewish Congress lobbied school boards across Ontario to have the book withdrawn from the Silver Birch Awards competition. Several school boards prevented students in the elementary grades from having access to the book. “Ms. Freedman has richly deserved this award for her impassioned defence of the book Three Wishes when it was banned last year by the Toronto District School Board,” said Ron Brown, chair of the union. “Although many notable individuals defended the retention of the book in the schools, Ms. Freedman was best able to reflect the concerns of those most affected, the students themselves.” l Alberta Theatre Projects, the Canadian Library Association, Library Journal, Spencer Moore, Julie Payne, PEN Canada, the Schulich School of Engineering and the Writers’ Union of Canada supplied information for this article.
MOHAMED ELMI, CO-FOUNDER OF HORN AFRIK, AND LIBAN HASSAN
The Life of a Journalist HAVE YOU EVER IMAGINED BEING a journalist, reporting from a war zone? Knowing that someone might be out there trying to get rid of you, and doesn’t want you to let the world know about what’s going on there. Using any means necessary to prevent you from reporting your story. From threatening you to sending people to execute you. Yet journalists continue with their mission, which is to let the world know what’s going on. There are journalists reporting from all over the world bringing us news and helping us to be more aware, but at what cost? Their lives. Personally to me, that’s a high price to pay just to bring news. However, if they’re attempting to change the outcome of a country that would have been destroyed, then that’s a completely different story. Reporters have a lot of courage and determination. All they want is to make a difference, to educate people on what’s going on in the world. That’s exactly what my uncle Ali Iman [Sharmarke] was trying to do. He was trying to educate Somalis about the world. Can you believe someone could be killed because he wanted a better world,
By Liban Hassan
a more educated society? My uncle tried to make the world a better place, but it was for that very quality that he was slain. He was returning from a fellow reporter’s funeral with my dad [Sahal Abdulle] when the car they were in was blown up. My uncle died, but my father survived. My mother, my brother and I were so shaken when we heard the news. And if I was that scared and my dad survived, imagine the fear and pain my uncle’s kids might be going through. It was probably one thing that they never imagined happening to their father. It must have been painful for the whole family. He was a very good friend of my father’s, and to see him dead was painful for him too. You can think of journalists as educators, teachers and maybe even preachers. Just remember that there’s nothing more important than education, and if we educate ourselves about the world, it would make the world a better place to live in for all of us. l Liban Hassan, 11, delivered this speech and accepted CJFE’s Tara Singh Hayer Award on behalf of Ali Iman Sharmarke on Nov. 1, 2007. FREEDOM TO READ 2008
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Murder of Canadian Journalist Tara Singh Hayer Remains Unsolved In 1999, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression renamed its award for courage in journalism the Tara Singh Hayer Award.
Courtesy of the Honours and Awards Secretariat, British Columbia
TARA SINGH HAYER
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By Julie Payne
his year marks the 10th anniversary of the murder of Tara Singh Hayer. On Nov. 18, 1998, Hayer — then the 62-year-old publisher of the Indo-Canadian Times — was shot to death in his garage in Surrey, B.C. A decade later, his murder remains unsolved. Hayer was probably shot for investigating the 1985 Air India bombing. He had made statements to police that would incriminate members of a militant Sikh separatist group, and he was on the list of witnesses to be heard at the high-profile trial. In 1988, Hayer survived an earlier attempt to kill him but was forced to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life. In the years since his murder, new details have emerged about the case. In 2003, Hardip Singh Uppal told police that Ravinder (Robbie) Soomel had confessed to him his role as driver of the getaway car in Hayer’s shooting. Uppal also identified Daljit Singh Basran as the shooter. Robbie Soomel is in jail, serving a 25-year sentence for another murder; Basran was reported missing by his family in February 2006 and is feared murdered. Neither man was ever charged with Hayer’s murder. It has been reported that the terrorist group Babbar Khalsa ordered the killing. In another twist, reported in October 2007, Robbie Soomel's brother Rajinder was arrested and charged with attempting to kill the police informant, Hardip Singh Uppal. Tara Singh Hayer’s son, Dave, has said in press interviews that he wants to discover “the big picture” behind his father’s death rather than simply convict the gunman. “The police have to get the people who arranged my father’s murder and the people who raised the money for it,” said Hayer. In November 2006, the investigation into the murder of Tara Singh Hayer intensified; extra officers were assigned to the case. RCMP Inspector Jim Gresham declared: “We will continue to investigate it, and we are always optimistic that we are going to have some success.” Until police bring both the perpetrators and the masterminds behind this crime to justice, Tara Singh Hayer’s murder remains a black mark on Canada’s record and a reminder of the dangers of maintaining a free press. l Julie Payne is the manager of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression in Toronto.
EMPTY CHAIRS PEN Canada’s International Concerns
t this year’s International Festival of Authors in Toronto, imprisoned writer Nurmuhemmet Yasin and editor Korash Huseyin were represented on all reading stages by the PEN Canada Empty Chair. The Empty Chair is a longstanding PEN Canada tradition that has been adopted by PEN centres worldwide. At public events and literary festivals, an empty chair is placed on the stage, and writers are chosen to symbolize all writers who are imprisoned or prevented from travelling because of what they have written. Yasin is the author of “Wild Pigeon.” In the story, a caged pigeon commits suicide rather than sacrifice its freedom. Chinese authorities interpreted the story as criticism of their government in the northwestern Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Yasin was arrested in China on Nov. 29, 2004. His computer, containing an estimated 1,600 poems, commentaries and stories, was confiscated. At a closed trial in February 2005, Yasin was sentenced to 10 years in prison for “inciting Uighur separatism.” He was not permitted a lawyer. Huseyin, chief editor of the Kashgar Literature Journal, was sentenced to three years’ detention for publishing “Wild Pigeon.” Chinese authorities also recalled all 2,000 copies of the journal. PEN Canada is calling for the immediate, unconditional release of Yasin and Huseyin in accordance with Article 19 of the United Nations’ International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which China is signatory. Furthermore, PEN Canada calls on China to ratify the covenant at its earliest opportunity. k
On Aug. 27, 2007, Russian Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika announced the arrest of 10 suspects in connection with the murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. Among the suspects were contract killers hired by known Chechen criminals, officers of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), and active and retired policemen. Politkovskaya, a journalist for Novaya Gazeta, was killed outside her home in Moscow on Oct. 7, 2006. A renowned critic of the Russian army’s human rights abuses in Chechnya and of the corruption that is endemic in Russia, Politkovskaya was a thorn in the side of the authorities. Without revealing names, Chaika said that Politkovskaya’s assassination had been ordered by individuals outside Russia.
They aimed, he said, at creating “... a crisis in Russia; restoring the former system, when everything was decided by money and oligarchs; discrediting the leader of the Russian state; and aspiring to provoke an external pressure on the government of our country.” The statement was greeted with skepticism. International human rights monitors expressed concern about the lack of transparency and the leak of conflicting information about the case. On Aug. 28, 2007, Radio Free Europe broadcast the news that Novaya Gazeta had been carrying out its own investigation into the killing. While the newspaper’s findings for the most part concurred with Chaika’s, Novaya Gazeta disputed the conclusion that the killing was masterminded by people living abroad. The Moscow-based Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations believes that the timing of the arrests — close to the anniversary of Politkovskaya’s death — could be an attempt by the Kremlin to avoid criticism for its lack of progress in the investigation. Other questions arose when one of the detained suspects, a Chechen legal assistant in Moscow, claimed that he had been beaten into a confession. Two of the 10 detainees, both reportedly policemen, have been released. PEN welcomes investigations into the killing of Politkovskaya but notes its concerns about lack of transparency, procedural flaws and apparent political bias. PEN maintains that the successful prosecution of those responsible for murder is the most effective means of demonstrating that murder is not tolerated and that those who seek to silence their critics through assassination will be punished. l FREEDOM TO READ 2008
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What Role Should Interest Groups Play?
By Ron Brown
n August 2007, a group of Canadian war veterans, led by spokesperson Cliff Chadderton, succeeded in having the Canadian War Museum remove a panel dealing with the Allied bombing of German cities near the end of the Second World War. The panel — “Strategic Bombing: An Enduring Controversy” — questioned the value of Allied air raids on Germany. It said: “The value and morality of the strategic bomber offensive against Germany remains bitterly contested. Bomber Command’s aim was to crush civilian morale and force Germany to surrender by destroying its cities and industrial installations. Although Bomber Command and American attacks left 600,000 Germans dead and more than five million homeless, the raids resulted in only small reductions in German war production until late in the war.” The veterans’ group objected, saying that the wording of the exhibit depicted them unfairly. One claimed that it branded them as “war criminals.” Most historians, however, have argued that the information is historically accurate. Still, War Museum spokesperson Christina Selin said that after weighing the various points of view, the museum decided to change the wording. The revised inscription reads: “The Allied bombing campaign against Germany stretched over almost six years and took a terrible toll on both sides. The Allies dropped almost two million tonnes of bombs on Europe. The cores of many German cities were burned to rubble. Devastation was measured in hectares. Hundreds of thousands died. “The flyers paid their own high price. More than 20,000 bombers were shot 28
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down. About 82,000 airmen were killed, including almost 10,000 Canadians. “For most of the campaign, German armament production rose steadily, despite the devastation. However, most historians agree that Germany was forced to assign hundreds of thousands of men and thousands of guns to fight the bombers. They also expended much of the dwindling strength of their air force against the bombers. “In the dying days of the war, the bombers concentrated on the German fuel system, essentially starving the war machine of its life blood.” This decision is in stark contrast to a remarkably similar controversy about The Valour and the Horror, a CBC documentary. In the documentary, which aired in 1992, the strategic value of the bombing was also questioned. The same group of veterans mounted a loud protest. During the controversy, the Writers’ Union of Canada helped to host a public forum in Toronto to view the film and discuss points of view. In the end, the documentary, produced by Brian and Terence McKenna, remained unaltered. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the War Museum panel. An online petition offers another point of view, stating that “Germans and second/third generation Germans are the third largest ethnic group in Canada. Many are sensitive to issues regarding the First and Second World War, largely to the unrecognized suffering of the German people as a result of war activities. By removing the preceding facts from a panel at the Canadian War Museum, Canada is acting to ignore the suffering of the German people at the hands of the Allies and that war has two sides.”1 The petition quotes Winston Churchill: “It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing
of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed. Otherwise we shall come into control of an utterly ruined land. ... The destruction of Dresden remains a serious query against the conduct of Allied bombing. I am of the opinion that military objectives must henceforward be more strictly studied in our own interests than that of the enemy.” Some of the more extreme critics have likened the effort to alter the panel’s wording to the efforts by Japan to deny the abuse by Japanese soldiers of “comfort women” during the same war, or by the Turkish government to punish any who write about the mass killing of ethnic Armenians during the First World War. In other ways, the debate is also reminiscent of the controversy in 2006 around Deborah Ellis’s Three Wishes, during which the Canadian Jewish Congress succeeded in persuading the Toronto District School Board to remove the book from its K–8 public schools. The issue was that the book, featuring real-life interviews with Israeli and Palestinian schoolchildren, included anti-Israeli points of view by some of the Palestinian children. Most school boards in Ontario retained the book. In the case of the War Museum panel, it should remain the position of all who cherish freedom of expression that no single interest group should be able to so easily impose its point of view upon what most historians describe as an accurate assessment of a controversial period of Canada’s war history. l Ron Brown is the chair of the Rights and Freedoms Committee of the Writers’ Union of Canada. 1 See “Leave the Wording of the Panel at Canada’s
War Museum Concerning the Dresden Bombing as Is” at www.petitiononline.com.
Ideas for Educators THE GET INVOLVED section has activities to comple-
The GET INVOLVED activities are designed for
ment the articles in the Freedom to Read education
classroom instruction and discussion.
kit and add to in-class discussion. The objectives of
GET INVOLVED is also intended for citizens
this section are to highlight freedom of thought and
outside the classroom who wish to plan community
freedom of expression as universal human rights,
events. This section includes ideas for publicizing
examine the educational value of controversial texts
challenged books and magazines in Canada,
and emphasize tolerance of other peopleâ€™s view-
organizing events that draw attention to freedom of
points as a vital principle of democratic education.
expression and generating publicity for local events.
The target group for this section includes high
We encourage you to use these ideas to GET
school, college and university students who discuss
INVOLVED during Freedom to Read Week and all
language and literature, politics, society, history,
year round. We sincerely hope your efforts have
law and other courses about intellectual freedom.
an impact in your classroom and your community.
Kim Vallee (First Prize, 2007) FREEDOM TO READ 2008
G E T
I N V O L V E D
Challenged Books and Magazines The list below features titles that have been banned or challenged in Canada. For more information on these titles and our complete challenged publications list, please visit www.freedomtoread.ca.
Challenged Fiction The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordecai Richler Clins d’œil à Romain Gary by Gabrielle Gourdeau A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess Dance Me Outside by W.P. Kinsella Different Seasons by Stephen King The Diviners by Margaret Laurence Le grand cahier by Agota Kristof In the Heat of the Night by John Ball Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro Man Sitting in a Corridor by Marguerite Duras Metallic Memories by Moebius (Jean Giraud) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson Takes One to Know One: An Alison Kaine Mystery by Kate Allen The Turner Diaries by William Pierce The Wars by Timothy Findley The Young in One Another’s Arms by Jane Rule
Trouble on Tarragon Island by Nikki Tate (Sono Nis Press, 2005) In 2007, a librarian in Kindersley, Sask., withdrew this work of juvenile fiction from the library at the Elizabeth School. The book tells the story of a girl in British Columbia who is mortified when her grandmother joins a group that protects old-growth trees from loggers. The grandmother also poses semi-nude for a calendar. The librarian objected to a description of bullying in the novel and the use of words such as breasts and bazoongas. In late 2007, a new principal reversed the decision to withdraw the book.
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Banksters and Prairie Boys by Monier M. Rahall Black Looks: Race and Representation by bell hooks By Way of Deception: A Devastating Insider’s Portrait of the Mossad by Claire Hoy and Victor Ostrovsky Color Psychology and Color Therapy: A Factual Study of the Influence of Color on Human Life by Faber Birren Final Exit: The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying by Derek Humphry Greasy, Grimy, Gopher Guts: The Subversive Folklore of Children by Josepha Sherman and T.K.F. Weisskopf The Homoerotic Photograph: Male Images from Durieu/ Delacroix to Mapplethorpe by Allen Ellenzweig Lethal Marriage by Nick Pron Outlaw Representation: Censorship and Homosexuality in Twentieth Century Art by Richard Meyer Pornography: Men Possessing Women (and) Woman Hating by Andrea Dworkin Scrambled Brains: A Cooking Guide for the Reality Impaired by Pierre LeBlanc and Robin Konstabaris Suffer Little Children by Dereck O’Brien Under the Gun: Inside the Mohawk Civil War by Rick Hornung Waging War From Canada by Mike Pearson
Challenged Young Adult and Children’s Books The Adventures of Tintin: The Blue Lotus by Hergé L’affaire du cachalot noir by Gervais Pomerleau Ani Croche by Bertrand Gauthier Asha’s Mums by Rosamund Elwin and Michele Paulse Baby Be-Bop by Francesca Lia Block Black Like Kyra, White Like Me by Judith Vigna Bumface by Morris Gleitzman Carcajou le glouton fripon by Basile Awashish et al. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger Le choix d’Ève by Reynald Cantin Les colères de l’océan by Gervais Pomerleau La complainte des huarts by Gervais Pomerleau La course à l’amour by Bertrand Gauthier Les envoûtements by Daniel Sernine L’été des baleines by Michèle Marineau The First Time by Charles Montpetit (ed.) Foxfire by Joyce Carol Oates Goosebumps and Fear Street series by R.L. Stine Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling Hey, Dad! by Brian Doyle Hold Fast by Kevin Major
And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson (Simon & Schuster, 2005) In 2006, a parent complained about the use of this children’s picture book in the Calgary Catholic School District. The book, which is aimed at very young readers, tells the story of two male penguins raising a baby penguin in a zoo. On religious grounds, the parent objected to the theme of homosexual parenting. The school library asked the district’s religious education office for a review of And Tango Makes Three. In the end, the library removed the book from its collection.
How Did I Begin? by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom I Saw Esau by Iona and Peter Opie I’ll Always Love You by Hans Wilhelm The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks J’ai besoin de personne by Reynald Cantin
The New York City Bartender’s Joke Book by Jimmy Pritchard (Grand Central Publishing, 2002) In 2004, a patron of the Saskatoon Public Library in Saskatchewan complained that this paperback promoted negative attitudes toward women and ethnic minorities. The library’s Challenged Materials Committee later agreed that the book was “racist, sexist, and demeaning to women and citizens of many countries.” The book also failed to meet “collection development standards.” The committee withdrew the book from circulation.
The Little Black Book for Girlz: A Book on Healthy Sexuality Moonkid and Liberty by Paul Kropp Noah’s Cats and the Devil’s Fire by Arielle North Olson Not the Only One: Gay and Lesbian Fiction for Teens by Tony Grime Ouch by Natalie Babbitt Outrageously Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor La première fois by Charles Montpetit (ed.) Qu’est-ce que vous faites là? by Dominique Jolin Le secret d’Ève by Reynald Cantin Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak by Deborah Ellis Tison-Ardent by Gervais Pomerleau To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee Underground to Canada by Barbara Smucker The Waiting Dog by Carolyn and Andrea Beck We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier Who is Frances Rain? by Margaret Buffie FREEDOM TO READ 2008
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Organize an Essay Contest During Freedom to Read Week Winning Student Essays from the Calgary Public Library Freedom to Read
By Lei (Grade 8) have always been able to read what I want to. My family visited and still visits the library often. There, with a little bit of guidance, I have a wide range of books to choose from. Mystery books, young adult books, romance books. Everything. I have the choice to read anything I want. But what if I didnâ€™t have that choice, like the many people in many countries around the world? As far as Iâ€™m concerned, that is unthinkable. I believe that people should have the right to read anything they want. Reading teaches and enlightens. If we did not have the freedom to read about the things we want, ignorance would sprout. And with ignorance comes biases. And misunderstanding. And discrimination. People without the freedom to read about a specific issue may take one side because that is the only thing they know and understand. The freedom to read anything could overcome this. If people could read about any issue, they would be more educated and understand both sides of the issues. Arguments and conflicts could be avoided. For example, some people oppose gays because they learned when they were young that being gay is wrong. But if those people read the other side of the issue, maybe they would reconsider their stand. Another thing that could come from
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ignorance is discrimination. Here in the present, people of colour are still being discriminated against, although many people are educated enough to know that this is wrong. Here is another situation where reading the right books can help. If they read that people of colour are no different from people of another colour, that they too feel sad and happy, they might think again about discriminating against other people. In short, the freedom to read anything we choose, without restriction, is vital. Reading eliminates ignorance, misunderstanding and discrimination, and it breeds tolerance. Tolerance makes the world a better place to live in.
By Elizabeth (Grade 9) he freedom to read opens a set of doors to a world of knowledge. It allows us to gain pleasure and understanding of that knowledge. No matter what we read, we learn something of use for our everyday lives. We learn about compassion, friendship and even basic principles such as right and wrong through reading. If we no longer had the freedom to read, we would lose this world of knowledge and pleasure. Even losing the freedom to read a single, simple book like The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss denies us a good laugh and a lesson in not letting every random stranger in your house. If that’s what we lose with one children’s book, imagine what would be lost with the millions of books existing today. That loss is unimaginable. Experiencing that loss would be worse than death. Some adults believe that children should be denied the freedom to read books that they think convey negative images and ideas, but if we are denied the freedom to read these books how can we know that those ideas are wrong? A book influences every person differently and the negative ideas
seen by these adults wouldn’t occur to many children. Take Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, for example. Many people want it banned for its use of witchcraft and sorcery. What they don’t see is the bond of trust and friendship between Harry and his friends, not to mention the way Harry resists evil through his ability to love and Dumbledore’s fatherly guidance. Even beyond these aspects of the story, the loss of Harry Potter would be a lost chance at a good laugh about the characters’ comic adventures. Overall, the freedom to experience the pleasure and knowledge that books give is far too important to be lost, however small the amount. After all, wasn’t it Aristotle who said, “All men by nature desire to know”? Being denied the freedom to read is being denied the freedom to know.
Freedom to Read
By Kyra (Grade 9) reedom to read is a compliment to our intelligence. In Canada, we have the freedom to read the books and magazines we choose to read. By having this freedom, we allow ourselves to expand our knowledge. We can create informed opinions about things happening in our own lives. By reading books without being censored, we can expand our minds and learn to think for ourselves, instead of having others tell us how to think. By experiencing many kinds of books, we can decide for ourselves what our personal idea of “truth” is. By censoring books, we don’t get the entire picture. We simply get a biased view of the world. Censoring books with “questionable” themes like racism cuts us off from experiencing this racism. It is an unacceptable thing, but if we are able to recognize it, we will be able to fight it when it happens in reality. By banning books like Lord of the Flies that contain “racial
slurs,” we would not experience the inappropriate actions toward another race. We would not be able to recognize racism and therefore do something to stop racism. People should read what they choose to read and decide for themselves what is, and is not, unacceptable. Reading allows us to experience many things not imaginable in reality. A book can take us into a whole other world and can help us understand ourselves more — as individuals and as a cohesive society. By taking in all the information we can, we allow ourselves to be creative. We experience others’ creativity through their writing, and we can contribute our own creativity by learning from them. Without freedom, we would not be individuals. We would not be as unique as we are without the shocking and seemingly unacceptable works of writing published and distributed today. The freedom to read encourages individualism and creativity. Our society is enriched by the different opinions put forth in writing. By accepting many points of view expressed in books, we can expand our own points of view and create a more intricate and fascinating life for ourselves.
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Host Your Own Photo Contest
GREAT WAY TO GET PEOPLE INVOLVED is to host a photo contest in your community or school. Ask participants to submit photos about freedom of expression, which could include photos of challenged books, Freedom to Read Week events, the Freedom to Read Week poster, people reading or anything that promotes the written word. Some fun ideas for contest prizes are a selection of challenged books, DVDs of films made from challenged books or gift certificates from a local bookstore. You can download the list of challenged books and magazines at www.freedomtoread.ca to get more ideas. Partnering with local businesses can be a great way to get prizes and other forms of support for your contest too. Make sure to look into the federal and provincial laws that apply to contests while planning your contest, and be aware that the rules among provinces vary. The Freedom of Expression Committee would love to see your winning contest photos. Photos submitted may be featured on the Freedom to Read website or in Freedom to Read 2009.
Submission Guidelines IMAGES must be 800 by 600 pixels at 72 dots per inch and should not exceed 800–900 kilobytes per image. Please label each photo with the photographer’s name, address and telephone number, and remember to include each photo’s title and location. The Freedom of Expression Committee will return images only if they are accompanied by a self-addressed envelope with sufficient postage. SUBMISSION of a photograph constitutes agreement to allow photographs to be reproduced, published and/or exhibited only for promotional purposes of the Freedom of Expression Committee’s Freedom to Read Week. Photographers must own all rights to the works submitted. Model releases are the photographer’s responsibility and must be provided to the Freedom of Expression Committee if requested. Photographers shall indemnify the Freedom of Expression Committee for any loss or damage arising from any breach of copyright. The photographer retains ownership of all submitted images. CONTACT Monique Mathew at (416) 975-9366 or email@example.com for more information.
Your Chance to Be a Shutterbug Below are the second and third prize winners of the Freedom to Read photo contest 2007. The winning photo is featured on page 29.
Angie Wishart (Second Prize, 2007)
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James DuPlessis (Third Prize, 2007)
Uncovering the Bare Bones of a Free Press
OW THE NEWS IS TOLD is not the only issue in media education. Where a news story appears in a newspaper is equally important. This exercise is designed to get students to read newspapers critically, with an eye to how the power of layout and placement makes a story “news.” Bring three or more newspapers from the same day to class. Divide the class into three groups, and have each group take one newspaper. List each newspaper’s front page stories and note • the headlines • the subheads • whether the stories are above or below the fold For tabloid newspapers, have students note which stories merit a photograph and a major headline. Ask which stories are merely sidebars.
FRONT PAGE Discussion Questions Did all newspapers pick the same story as their lead story? If the answer is yes, why do you think this story was picked as the most important one? Have each group go through the newspapers’ front sections and find other stories that could have been on the front pages but weren’t. Have the groups list the shortest and longest stories in the section. If the paper has an editorial, take note
of where it is on the page and how long the editorial is. Count the number of ads and the number of articles. Compare the totals from each newspaper. Also note whether an article comes from one of the newspaper’s reporters or from a wire service such as the Associated Press, Canadian Press, Reuters and Guardian News Service. List the number of articles that were written by staff and the number of stories that were taken from wire services. You can have a separate group go to a wire service website such as http://newswire.ca/en/ to compare the previous day’s press releases with news stories that appeared in the next day’s papers. How many news stories were generated from press releases?
INSIDE SECTION Discussion Questions • Why do you think the editor didn’t put your news selections on the front page? • Do the shortest stories have anything in common? • Do the three editorials share a theme, or do they cover different topics? • Did all three papers cover mostly the same stories, or were there differences? • What are the advantages of buying stories from wire services? What are the disadvantages? • Can you tell whether the newspaper has a bias toward or against a political party based on the stories that appear in the newspaper and the location of the stories in the paper? • Is it wrong for a newspaper to show a political opinion? Why or why not? FREEDOM TO READ 2008
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How to Study a Study
“Studies show ...” “According to a recent survey .. . ”
THE RESULTS OF STUDIES and surveys are fodder for discussion — and distraction — from the news desk to the water cooler. But where do these studies and surveys come from, and what do they really prove? Have students scan magazines, newspapers and websites for articles that report survey and study findings. Then have students bring the articles to class. Studies can include reports about pharmaceutical products and medical discoveries, public opinion surveys, soft news or lifestyle surveys, and attitudinal surveys. (An example of a question from a lifestyle survey is “What are the five things men notice about women?” An example of a question from an attitudinal survey is “Do you feel safe in your neighbourhood?”) Start your own clipping file as well. Look at each article and explore the following: • Does the article say where the study came from or who commissioned it? • How would you find out who commissioned (paid for) a study or survey? • Does the survey or study compare products, either directly or indirectly?
For more information and resources: CANADA’S EVENT CALENDAR FOR FREEDOM TO READ WEEK • A LIST OF BOOKS RECENTLY CHALLENGED IN CANADA • TIPS ON HOW TO OBSERVE FREEDOM TO READ WEEK • A CHRONOLOGY OF BOOK BANNINGS AND BURNINGS IN WORLD HISTORY • POSTER ART FOR 24 YEARS OF FREEDOM TO READ WEEK • LINKS TO OTHER ONLINE RESOURCES • AND MUCH MORE . . .
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• Does the article say how many people were surveyed? • Does the article describe the research methodology and margin of error? • Did you find more themed studies and surveys such as romance surveys around Valentine’s Day? Who sponsored these? • What are the potential drawbacks to studies paid for by the manufacturer of a product related to the study? (For example, a home security company might sponsor a study on attitudes toward personal safety.) How would this affect the reader? Next, search for “study” or “survey” in Google News or another search engine on the Internet, and see what results come up. Use keywords from the article and any proper names that are mentioned to narrow your search. If you find a press release about the study, compare it to the published article and note any changes between the two versions. We live in a world saturated with studies, surveys and sound bites. Knowing what questions to ask is vital to media literacy and helps ensure we have access to the news we need.
Write a Punchy Press Release and Get Publicity!
O, YOU’VE ORGANIZED a fantastic Freedom to Read Week activity. But how can you make sure it gets media attention? Writing a press release is the logical place to start, but you need to target your message and your audience carefully to have a chance at generating press interest and coverage. Follow these basic rules: KEEP THE PRESS RELEASE TO ONE PAGE. In the top left corner, type “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.” On the next line, centre the headline in uppercase 14-point type. Centre the sub-headline on the line below. Set the sub-headline in mixed-case 12-point type. Set both headlines in boldface. THE FIRST PARAGRAPH opens with the release date in brackets. The rest of the paragraph declares when Freedom to Read Week will happen, who sponsors the Week and why, and that the Week is nationwide. This paragraph mentions your event, date and location. THE SECOND PARAGRAPH provides more information about your event, its participants, special or unusual activities, etc. If celebrities or politicians are going to be present, mention them here. THE THIRD PARAGRAPH might elaborate on the importance of freedom of expression and how your event supports it. If there have been recent book or magazine challenges in your community, refer to them here. THE FINAL PARAGRAPH lists the contact information with your group’s name, phone number and e-mail address set in boldface type. Indicate the end of the press release by centring –30– on the final line. Your press release is ready. Now what? FIND YOUR AUDIENCE. Don’t send press releases “to whom it may concern” or to general information mailboxes. Get the name of the relevant writer,
producer, news director or editor, and send your press release directly to his or her attention. Follow up a day or two before the event by making a telephone call and re-sending the release. THINK IN THE MEDIUM. If you’re asking for television coverage of your event, think about what a camera crew will shoot. Television needs pictures, not just interviews; potential shots include book jackets, event posters, Freedom to Read Week posters, etc. Have these materials well mounted and displayed. If you’ll have celebrity guests, have them available for on-camera interviews. Preparing for radio and print coverage of your event will be less complicated than preparing for television shows, but make sure to have potential interview subjects available when the reporters will be around. If you know in advance when a newsworthy guest will arrive, tell the reporter or producer when
you make your follow-up phone call. THINK LIKE A PRODUCER. Reporters from television or radio programs might not be able to come to your event, but they might still promote your event beforehand in a studio interview. To generate public awareness, suggest a panel discussion on freedom of expression. Suggest guests and discussion points to the producer, emphasizing the wide-ranging nature of the topic. Possible angles include the arts, technology, politics and parenting. Don’t be afraid to add a relevant, personal story to your pitch either. Readers and viewers respond best to specific, personal details, not to abstract ideological statements. ON THE DAY OF THE EVENT, set your VCR to tape the television segment. Save your press clippings too. You’ll want to review the coverage before next year’s event!
Write Your Own Charter of Rights and Freedoms THE CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS came into force on April 17, 1982. It guarantees “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication” as one of our four fundamental freedoms. To mark the charter’s 25th anniversary, have your students write their own charter of rights and freedoms. What rights do students think need to be recognized and protected? Students can work individually to draft their charters or work in groups on specific issues such as language rights, legal rights, equality rights or fundamental freedoms. After the student charters have been written, compare them to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. You can find the charter online at http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/charter/.
Discuss these questions: • What differences are there between the two charters? • Did students uncover issues that aren’t addressed by the charter? • What rights in the charter mean the most to them?
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Freedom to Read Week Activities and Events Across Canada 2007 BELOW IS A LIST OF THE EVENTS that took place before, during and after Freedom to Read Week 2007. You’ll find great ideas among the speakers, screenings, documentaries and displays for your own Freedom to Read Week event in 2008. British Columbia Library Association (North Burnaby, B.C.) The BCLA hosted a reception to honour Lois Bewley. She earned the BCLA’s highest honour, the Helen Gordon Stewart Award, and became an honorary life member of the association for her efforts to ensure that intellectual freedom remains at the core of library work and associations.
British Columbia Library Association (Vancouver, B.C.) The BCLA held a province-wide contest for the best display celebrating Freedom to Read Week.
Calgary Public Library
(Calgary, Alta.) The library held an essay contest for junior high school students on topics of intellectual freedom and banned books.
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (Toronto, Ont.) CJFE and The Walrus magazine co-sponsored a debate called Leaks, Lies and Liability about journalists and the protection of sources. The panellists were Andrew Mitrovica, Brian MacLeod Rogers, Marci McDonald and Paul Knox. Ken Alexander, The Walrus’s publisher, moderated the discussion.
CBC Radio One
Librarian Pamela Hodgson read You Can’t Read This. Nima Dorjee, a promoter of human rights and free expression, presented the 2007 Calgary Freedom of Expression Award.
(Montreal, Que.) The university screened Little Sister’s vs. Big Brother, a documentary film that describes the Vancouver bookstore’s censorship battles with Canada Customs over the importation of gay-themed publications.
Eagle River Literacy Committee
(Cartwright, Nfld.) The committee challenged the students of Henry Gordon Academy to design Freedom to Read Week posters and write essays on how banning books infringes our rights and freedoms. Prizes were awarded to winning classes and students.
Edmonton Public Library
(Edmonton, Alta.) At the Third Annual Banned Books Café, people read from banned or challenged books through an open microphone. A discussion followed. A Freedom to Read for Teens contest was also held.
Englehart Public Library
(Englehart, Ont.) The library created a display featuring challenged and banned books. It also gave away a book daily.
CBC Radio broadcast short interviews with Ron Brown and Franklin Carter, spokesmen for the Writers’ Union of Canada and the Book and Periodical Council’s Freedom of Expression Committee respectively, in different regions of Canada just before Freedom to Read Week. The interviews focused on challenged books in Canada.
Fort Erie Public Library
Central Public Library
(London, Ont.) The library hosted readings from banned writings and imprisoned authors. Mir Hussain Mahdavi, a newspaper editor who faced persecution in Afghanistan, appeared at this event.
City of Calgary Events
(Calgary, Alta.) The mayor of Calgary declared Freedom to Read Week in the council chambers at city hall. The Calgary Freedom to Read Committee presented the Calgary Official Book of Freedom to Read Week — Val Ross’s You Can’t Read This: Forbidden Books, Lost Writing, Mistranslations & Codes — to city council. 38
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(Fort Erie, Ont.) Fort Erie Public Library’s Red Maple Reading Club examined four books removed from a local school board’s reading list. Grade 7 and 8 readers were encouraged to read these challenged books and participate in discussion. (Tatamagouche, N.S.) The store hosted an evening event called the Big Speakeasy. Silver Donald Cameron, Harry Thurston, Linda Little and Gary Blackwood read from banned and censored books. The Contraband played live music.
Library Association of Alberta
(Alberta) The Intellectual Freedom Committee of the Library Association of Alberta presented a Freedom to Read Week contest for Alberta’s libraries. The library that best celebrated and promoted Freedom to Read Week won a monetary prize to help with the celebration.
Lumby United Church
(Lumby, B.C.) The church hosted a used book sale. Any book on Freedom to Read’s list of challenged books was offered for free.
Manitoba Writers’ Guild Inc.
(Winnipeg, Man.) The fifth Freedom to Read 24-Hour Reading Marathon occurred at the Millennium Library in Winnipeg.
McNally Robinson Booksellers
(Calgary, Alta.) People took part in a 24-hour reading marathon of banned books.
New Glasgow Public Library
(New Glasgow, N.S.) Author Harry Thurston led a round-table discussion on Freedom to Read Week and censorship in Canada with guest writers Linda Little, Sheldon Currie, Maureen Hull and Joan Baxter.
North Island College
(Port Alberni, B.C.) Students created a display to promote intellectual freedom and celebrate Freedom to Read Week.
Nova Scotia Community College’s Akerley Campus Library (Dartmouth, N.S.) The library created a display of book bannings and burnings throughout history and frequently challenged or censored books. The library also held information sessions for Freedom to Read Week.
Pelham Public Library
(Fonthill, Ont.) The Pelham Public Library issued a challenge for readers to read as many banned and challenged books as they could. The library’s online blog, Fahrenheit 451: Banned Books, allowed readers to record their progress and recommended banned books.
(Toronto, Ont.) At the Toronto Reference Library, an event called Inventory: Writers Tracking Conflict and War featured writers David Bezmozgis, Dionne Brand, Bernice Eisenstein, Camilla Gibb, Rawi Hage, Ann-Marie MacDonald and PEN Canada writer-inexile Senthil Ratnasabapathy. Musicians Bruce Cockburn and Shad also appeared.
Saskatoon Public Library
(Saskatoon, Sask.) The library hosted panel discussions: Freedom to Read: Media Perspectives with Ameera Javeria, Gerry Klein and Chris Kirkland and Freedom to Read: Perspectives on Libraries and Education with MaryLynn Gagné, Elizabeth Roberts and Len Findlay. Centre Stage: Say It Out Loud featured Man Booker Prizewinner Yann Martel, actor and director Henry Woolf and the Saskatoon Public Library’s writer-in-residence Curtis Peeteetuce. They gave dramatic readings from banned, challenged and censored publications.
The Shebeen Club (Vancouver, B.C.) At an event called Falling in the Forest, CBC Radio personalities Lisa Christiansen and Tammy Everts read from banned books. People also discussed the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent verdict about Little Sister’s Book and Art Emporium.
University of British Columbia Robson Square Bookstore and Library (Vancouver, B.C.) UBC Robson Square Readings featured readings by Russell Thornton. The event received support from the Canada Council for the Arts.
University of Guelph Library
(Guelph, Ont.) As part of a first-year seminar course entitled Forbidden Knowledge and Dangerous Ideas, students created exhibits about cases that involved the control of knowledge or ideas deemed dangerous. The library also created a banned-book shelf in the café to encourage reading of banned materials and a reading wall with articles about Deborah Ellis’s Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak.
University of Saskatchewan
(Saskatoon, Sask.) Dr. Pearce Carefoote of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library of the University of Toronto delivered a lecture called “Art Made Tongue-Tied by Authority” on censorship throughout the ages.
RELATED ACTIVITIES CBC Radio: Censor This! On Writers and Company, host Eleanor Wachtel spoke with Pierre Mujomba, a Congolese writer who was forced to flee from the Mobutu regime, and Iranian novelist Shahriar Mondanipour, who was also forced into exile due to political persecution. The Current broadcast “Off the Shelves,” a documentary by CBC producer Arif Noorani, which explored the debate over Deborah Ellis’s Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak and whether the book belongs in public school libraries. On Quirks and Quarks, host Bob McDonald investigated the censorship of scientists in the United States. Issues included government censorship of speech, the limiting or denying of government funds to scientists, the government’s rejection of scientific conclusions and government revision of scientific reports.
Ontario Library Association
(Toronto, Ont.) Delegates to the OLA Super Conference watched a panel discussion entitled Selection vs. Censorship: Building Critical Literacy.
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R E S O U RC E S THE INTERNET
writers around the world who are persecuted for the peaceful expression of their thoughts. Visit this website for information about action campaigns, upcoming events and profiles of members of the Writers in Exile program.
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED in learning more about censorship and free expression, here are some websites to get you started.
Reporters Without Borders http://www.rsf.org
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/charter/
This international organization works to restore people’s right to be informed in countries where there is no press freedom. The website, which is updated several times daily, keeps track of attacks on press freedom as they occur and serves as a forum where journalists who have been silenced may voice their opinions.
Canada Customs Memorandum on Obscenity (D9-1-1) http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/E/pub/cm/d9-1-1/d9-1-1-e.html
Union des écrivaines et des écrivains québécois http://www.uneq.qc.ca/dossiers/liberte/liberte.html
Canada Customs Memorandum on Hate Propaganda, Treason, and Sedition (D9-1-15) http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/E/pub/cm/d9-1-15/d9-1-15-e.html
L’Union des écrivaines et des écrivains québécois est un organisme sans but lucratif, une association professionnelle et un syndicat. Le document ‹‹ Liberté d’expression ›› trace un portrait de la censure au Canada et explique quoi faire dans un cas de censure.
Netlinks Universal Declaration of Human Rights http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html
FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION ACTIVISTS Article 19: The Global Campaign for Free Expression http://www.article19.org Named after Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this organization campaigns for free expression by monitoring and protesting against censorship wherever it occurs. The website features information about major free expression cases, papers about free expression standards and useful tips on getting involved. Book and Periodical Council’s Freedom of Expression Committee http://www.freedomtoread.ca The Book and Periodical Council (BPC), which represents Canadian professional associations in the book and magazine industries, formed its Freedom of Expression Committee in 1978 to resist attempts to ban classic Canadian novels. On this website, you will find information about censorship in Canada and resources for organizing your own Freedom to Read Week event. Canadian Civil Liberties Association http://www.ccla.org The CCLA is a private non-profit organization that defends the civil liberties and human rights of people who live in Canada. On this website, you will find information about the CCLA’s efforts to protect Canadians’ freedoms through law reform and information about membership in the CCLA. Canadian Journalists for Free Expression http://www.cjfe.org CJFE is a non-governmental organization supported by Canadian journalists and advocates of free expression. The organization defends the rights of journalists and helps develop media freedom throughout the world. PEN Canada http://www.pencanada.ca PEN (Poets, Essayists and Novelists) Canada campaigns for 40
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GOOD SOURCES OF INFORMATION American Library Association http://www.ala.org This website provides information about the ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom and Banned Books Week in America. The site features the ALA’s most challenged books list and provides extensive information on celebrating freedom to read throughout the United States. International Freedom of Expression Exchange http://www.ifex.org IFEX is a clearing house for news about the activities of free expression groups around the world. Its Action Alert Network coordinates and circulates news of attacks on free expression. Through outreach and development, IFEX supports fledgling free expression groups in developing countries, and IFEX’s weekly e-mail communiqué keeps subscribers informed about global censorship. kidSPEAK http://www.kidspeakonline.org This website started after various groups tried to ban Harry Potter novels but soon broadened its content to include other free expression issues that affect youth. kidSPEAK is not useful for Canadian youth who want to understand their rights under the law — the website is American and U.S. laws are different — but is an excellent source for free expression news and information aimed at a young audience. Visit the BPC’s website, www.freedomtoread.ca, for a more extensive list of freedom of expression resources on the Internet.
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