Despite widespread calls for changes in Section 13 of the federal Human Rights Act, Prime Minister Harper is doing nothing about it. Why? Because the Conservatives don’t want to do anything that opposition parties might use to paint them as social conservatives – so “no movement on abortion, family issues or free speech – yes, free speech belongs in the do not touch category apparently,” writes Brian Lilley on Examiner.com.
Continue Reading Why Harper Won’t Touch the Human Rights Commissions
The Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission has dismissed nine complaints against the Edmonton Journal and the Calgary Herald, arising from an editorial titled Apocalyptic Creed that both papers published in April 2002. While agreeing the editorial contained offensive statements, Marie Riddle, director of the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission, wrote that given current case law she did not see a basis for forwarding the complaints to a panel.
A Sept. 2 decision by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal continues to provoke speculation that the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Canadian Human Rights Commission and provincial human rights bodies will have less to say in future about hate speech and free expression.
Iranian-Canadian journalist has been acquitted on minor charges of inciting political uprisings, according to Liberal MP Dan McTeague, but remains in an Iranian prison. The opposition MP says the Canadian government should do more to secure his release.
Continue Reading Maziar Bahari reported acquitted, still in jail
The controversy over marking the 250th anniversary of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham has crossed over into freedom of expression territory. Though there hasn’t been an actual attempt to prevent a reading of the manifesto of the Front de liberation du Quebec as part of the event, federalists are complaining that the reading endorses terrorism, while event organizers want an apology for that accusation.
Euna Lee and Laura Ling arrived back in the United States on August 6. Arrested near the border between North Korea and China in March, the two reporters for Current TV had been held in North Korea for 140 days. North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il granted them a pardon after talks with former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who was acting as an unofficial envoy.
Clinton’s mission provoked some controversy, with one Bush-era official arguing the visit rewarded North Korea’s bad behaviour, and even some media outlets criticizing Ling and Lee for taking risks in the course of their work.
Continue Reading North Korea frees U.S. journalists, controversy remains
The Writers’ Union of Canada has sent an open letter to Gary Lunn, federal Minister of State for Sports, expressing concern about the way Chris Shaw, author of a book critical of the upcoming Vancouver Olympics, was questioned by the Integrated Securities Unit (ISU).
Continue Reading Writers’ Union protests treatment of Olympics critic
Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari remains in prison
in Iran, where he was arrested on June 21. A correspondent for Newsweek, has been accused of helping
organize anti-government protests. The CBC Radio program The Current aired a segment on Bahari on July 7, and in an editorial on July 8, The Globe and Mail called on
Prime Minister Stephen Harper to appeal directly to the Iranian government for
When undercover police pretend to be journalists, they not only make reporters’ jobs harder and more dangerous but make it harder for minority groups to be heard, speakers at a Canadian Journalists for Freedom of Expression panel discussion said.
Continue Reading Police posing as journalists: CJFE panel examines problems