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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Intellectual freedom in Canada: Pitched battle continues between media and government censors

In this increasingly frenzied battle, I do NOT claim to provide the most up-to-date coverage, just coverage for those who want to know, now and then, how things are going.

The skinny: Brave Canadians are digging in to defend civil liberties against the growing mob of government-funded apparatchiks who know way, way better than we citizens do how we should live, think, move, and have our being. We value your good wishes if you, like us, think that the free human mind is a benefit to the whole planet.

But if you want regular coverage, go to Ezra Levant, MarkSteyn, Five Feet of Fury, Blazing Cat Fur, or Deborah Gyapong - or get on Franklin Carter's list at the Book and Periodical Council's Freedom of Expression Committee.

Meanwhile, ...

Ezra Levant weighs in on government kidnapping children "for their own good".

Franklin Carter reports:

On July 10, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously struck down a ban on political ads on the sides of municipal buses.

[In Canada, for many decades, elected politicians have waged a serious battle to prevent rivals from entering the fray by placing limits on citizen participation in elections and on where election ads may be placed. The main effect is to prevent issues from coming to the fore that all current sitting or favoured politicians agree that they would rather not deal with. Anyway, here are Franklin's links. ]

The ruling does not directly affect book and periodical publishers and
retailers, but it does favour greater freedom of expression.

Sue Bailey reports for the Canadian Press.
In The Globe and Mail,
Kirk Makin reports on July 10.
Makin reports again on July 11.
In The ChronicleHerald of Halifax, Ian
Fairclough reports.
Philip Ling reports for the CanWest News Service.
Christine McLaren reports for The Tyee in B.C.
The staff at Xtra also report.
In The ChronicleHerald of
Halifax, Paul Schneidereit comments.
In the Winnipeg Sun, Mindelle Jacobs comments.
In The Vancouver Sun, Peter McKnight comments.

[By the way, it is nice to see so many media starting to find their feet again as responsible sources of news, and quit sucking up to government, which will never give them the straight goods anyway, for all the footlicking they force themselves to do.]

Franklin also notes that another third world journalist has been found murdered. Journalism, done right [and we are NOT talking about the doomed US legacy media "big hair" guys and gals here], is a dangerous profession. Try reporting the truth about something when a bunch of people are battening off dangerous lies, and you will soon discover that.

Franklin also notes,
Amazon has the ability to delete digital books on your Kindle from a remote location, even after you have paid for the books in full.

In Slate magazine, Farhad Manjoo predicts the future of book censorship:

Thanks go to Dr. Toni Samek in Alberta for pointing out this story.
[Glad I didn't end up buying a Kindle. Nobody can delete the books on my shelves unless they have a search warrant for my home.

And he also notes the increasing sureness with which formerly supine Canadian media are defending the right to publish what matters. For example, ... ]

In Ontario, the Windsor Star comes out against HRC censorship; In the Toronto Sun, Alan Shanoff supports the legal suppression of hate speech, but he adds that "massive reform" of Canada's anti-hate speech laws is needed;

In the National Post and other CanWest papers, Ezra Levant continues to allege that employees of the CHRC posted bigoted remarks on neo-Nazi Web sites. He also reminds readers of the illegal hacking into Nelly Hechme's Internet account; Meanwhile, in Ireland, the government fine-tunes its anti-blasphemy laws. The CBC reports.

[Look, guys. Either fight for intellectual freedom now, or up reporting on "Grandma's favourite summer jam recipes" and "My most wonderful dog stories." Is that really what you dreamed of when you cashed in your cozy future career as a high school English prof and said, No! I want to be a JOURNALIST! I want to write NEWS! No, I didn't think so. And now is the time to make it good. ]

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