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    to read
FREEDOM TO READ WEEK marks its twenty-third anniversary in 2007.
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 community at large, particularly during
Freedom to Read Week.
  This year, we explore the impact of technology on issues of free expression
as well as the delicate interplay between cultural sensitivities and literary
freedom. An excerpt from Val Ross’s book You Can’t Read This illustrates
how even Superman was subject to censure and censorship, from both
fascists and anti-fascists.
  The Get Involved section provides exercises and resources for teachers and
students, including a guide to generating both ideas and effective publicity
for your Freedom to Read Week events. Back issues of Freedom to Read plus
other resources are available on our Web site at

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:
                    The Book and Periodical Council (BPC) would like to thank the following
                        for their generous sponsorship of Freedom to Read Week 2007:

                  The BPC would also like to thank the following organizations and individuals
                                   for their support and in-kind donations:

                                                                                              Nunavut Public
                                                                                              Library Services

Canadian Library Association

                                                                                                    Provincial Library

                                Atlantic Provinces
                               Library Association

                                                                                        Manitoba Library Association

   The following people contributed an incredible amount of time and energy producing the kit and poster
    and maintaining the Web site at Benita Aalto, Helena Aalto, Franklin Carter,
       Ron Giddings, Peggy McKee, Scott Mitchell, Marg Anne Morrison, Reva Pomer, 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 2007.

The BPC gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and its member organizations.
                                                                          to read
 4 Position Statement: Freedom of                 25 PEN Canada: Seventy Years in
   Expression and Freedom to Read                    the Fight for Free Expression
   Book and Periodical Council                       By Aidan Johnson

 5 News Bytes                                     26 Reflections on Press Freedom in 2006
   By Franklin Carter and Benita Aalto               By Julie Payne

 8 The Blogosphere: Free Speech                   27 There’s a Chill in the Air
   Limits in an Uncharted World                      By Ron Brown
   By Benita Aalto
                                                  28 The Human Rights Police
10 Restricted Access: The Dispute Over               By Franklin Carter
   Three Wishes in Ontario’s Schools
   By Deborah Ellis, Len Rudner, the Toronto
   District School Board, and Peggy Thomas            GET INVOLVED
13 Internet “Hacktivism”:
                                                  30 Foreword
   Digital Davids v. Global Goliaths
   By Greg Simpson                                31 Challenged Books and Magazines
15 Drawing the Line: Canadians Debate the         33 Activity: Organize an Essay Contest During
   Dissemination of Denmark’s Mohammed Cartoons      Freedom to Read Week: Winning Student
   By Ezra Levant, Dan Dunsky, Tony Burman,          Essays from Calgary’s Public Library
   and Wade MacLauchlan
                                                  34 BookCrossing
17 Varieties of Censorship
   By Franklin Carter                             35 Freedom to Read Photo Competition:
                                                     Your Chance to Be a Shutterbug!
19 Book Excerpt: You Can’t Read This
   By Val Ross                                    36 Activity: Write a Killer Press Release
                                                     and Get Publicity!
20 Rushdie Redux: A Global Conflict Over
   Danish Cartoons Echoes the Crisis              37 Activity: Organize In-Class Debates!
   Over The Satanic Verses
                                                  37 Activity: Display Challenged Books!
   By Franklin Carter

22 The Retail Challenge: Booksellers              38 Activity: Host a Reading Marathon!
   and Freedom to Read                            38 Activity: Organize a Public Debate!
   By Emily Sinkins
                                                  39 The Internet: Netlinks
23 2006 Awards for Freedom of
   Expression/Freedom to Read                     40 Event Sponsors of Freedom to Read Week 2006
Benita Aalto, Helena Aalto
                                                    Position Statement
Franklin Carter
                                                    Freedom of Expression
DESIGN                                              and Freedom to Read
Reva Pomer                                          A statement of the basic tenets of the Freedom of Expression
POSTER DESIGN                                       Committee of the Book and Periodical Council
Ron Giddings, David Wyman
                                                    “Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms . . .
Benita Aalto, Ron Brown, Tony Burman,               thought, belief, opinion, and expression.”
Franklin Carter, Dan Dunsky, Deborah Ellis,
Anne Jayne, Aidan Johnson, Barbara Lake,                                                 — Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Ezra Levant, Wade MacLauchlan, Spencer
                                                    Freedom of expression is a fundamental right of all Canadians, and freedom
Moore, Julie Payne, Val Ross, Len Rudner,
Greg Simpson, Emily Sinkins, Peggy                  to read is part of that precious heritage. Our Committee, representing member
Thomas.                                             organizations and associations of the Book and Periodical Council, reaffirms its
                                                    support of this vital principle and opposes all efforts to suppress writing and
© Book and Periodical Council 2006
The Book and Periodical Council is the umbrella     silence writers. Words and images in their myriad configurations are the
organization for associations involved in the       substance of free expression.
writing, editing, publishing, manufacturing,
distributing, selling, and lending of books         The freedom to choose what we read does not, however, include the freedom
and periodicals in Canada.
                                                    to choose for others. We accept that courts alone have the authority to restrict
No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in     reading material, a prerogative that cannot be delegated or appropriated. Prior
any form or by any means without prior written      restraint demeans individual responsibility; it is anathema to freedom
permission of the Book and Periodical Council or,
                                                    and democracy.
in the case of photocopying or other reprographic
copying, a licence from the Canadian Copyright
Licensing Agency (Access Copyright).
                                                    As writers, editors, publishers, book manufacturers, distributors, retailers,
Please credit the Book and Periodical Council
                                                    and librarians, we abhor arbitrary interpretations of the law and other attempts
on any copies of kit materials. Forward all         to limit freedom of expression. We recognize court judgements; otherwise, we
suggestions for future Freedom to Read kits to      oppose the detention, seizure, destruction, or banning of books and periodicals—
the Book and Periodical Council in Toronto.
                                                    indeed, any effort to deny, repress, or sanitize. Censorship does not protect
The opinions expressed in Freedom to Read 2007
do not necessarily reflect the official views of    society; it smothers creativity and precludes open debate of controversial issues.
the Book and Periodical Council or its member
associations.                                       Endorsed by the Book and Periodical Council
ISBN 0-9739099-1-9                                  February 5, 1997

                                                                      TO ORDER KITS
                                                                      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.
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                                                                      are subject to a shipping and handling charge.
                                                                      Book and Periodical Council
                                                                      192 Spadina Avenue, Suite 107
                                                                      Toronto, Ontario M5T 2C2
                                                                      Phone: (416) 975-9366
                                                                      Fax: (416) 975-1839
                                                                      Web site:
                                                                      Web site:

4 | FREEDOM     T O R E A D 2007
News Bytes
         BY FRANKLIN CARTER                 a panic and an anti-Arab backlash at
          and BENITA AALTO                  Concordia after the terrorist attacks
                                            on the United States on September 11,
CANADA                                      2001.

JUSTICE MINISTER DECIDES                      According to Bernans, he received
AGAINST APPEAL; OTTAWA                      permission in June 2006 to read at
JOURNALIST GOES FREE                        Concordia on September 11, 2006, but
                                            was later denied permission from the
                                            university’s risk assessment commit-
Minister Vic Toews declared that he
                                            tee. Bernans said that he received no
would not appeal a court decision that
                                            explanation for the cancelled booking.
struck down part of Canada’s secrecy
                                            According to Michael Di Grappa, a uni-
law and tossed out police warrants
                                            versity vice-president, the cancellation
that were used to search a journalist’s
                                            was a mistake, and the risk assess-
home and office.                                                                       North of 9/11 by David Bernans
                                            ment committee hadn’t discussed            (Cumulus Press, 2006)
  Two weeks earlier, Madam Justice          Bernans’s request.
Lynn Ratushny of Ontario’s Superior                                                    MAN JAILED FOR PROMOTING
                                              On September 5, 2006, Di Grappa          ANTI-SEMITISM ON WEB
Court of Justice had struck down three
                                            invited Bernans to read at Concordia;      ON SEPTEMBER 1, 2006, JUSTICE
sections of the Security of Information
                                            on September 11, 2006, Bernans read        Philip Clarke of the Alberta Court
Act and had quashed the warrants
                                            his novel to a small crowd at an off-      of Queen’s Bench sentenced Reni
used by the Royal Canadian Mounted
                                            campus bookstore.                          Sentana-Ries to 16 months in prison for
Police to search the home and office of
Juliet O’Neill, a reporter for the Ottawa                                              promoting anti-Semitism on a Web site.
                                            CRTC TURNS DOWN ANTI-RACIST
Citizen, in 2004.                                                                      Clarke also prohibited Sentana-Ries
                                            LAWYER’S REQUEST
                                                                                       from using the Internet for 36 months
  Ratushny’s decision and Toews’s
                                            ON AUGUST 25, 2006, THE                    and ordered the Web site shut down.
announcement meant that O’Neill no
longer faced prosecution for using          Canadian Radio-television and                 Sentana-Ries—who styled himself
“a security source” and a leaked            Telecommunications Commission              the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and
document to write a news story about        (CRTC) declined to ask Internet service    named his Web site The Federation of
Maher Arar in 2003.                         providers (ISPs) to block two U.S.         Free Planets—blamed Jews for fabricat-
                                            Web sites that promote race hatred         ing the Holocaust, creating the deadly
  Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian citizen,                                                AIDS and Ebola viruses, and destroying
                                            and incite violence against a Canadian
was wrongly suspected of having ties                                                   the World Trade Center and space shut-
                                            citizen. The CRTC said that it would
to al-Qaeda and was deported to Syria                                                  tle Columbia. Sentana-Ries claimed
                                            be inappropriate to authorize ISPs to
by U.S. authorities in 2002. In Syria, he                                              that Jews sought world domination.
                                            block the Web sites without first seek-
was imprisoned for more than a year                                                       The 16-month sentence is the longest
                                            ing comment from the companies and
and tortured before being returned to                                                  ever imposed in Canada for promoting
                                            the public.
Canada.                                                                                race hatred on a Web site.
                                              Richard Warman, a lawyer and anti-
AUTHOR AND OFFICIALS CLASH                  racist activist in Ottawa, had asked the   “OBSCENE” LESBIAN NOVEL
AT CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY                     CRTC to authorize the ISPs to block the    SEIZED BY CUSTOMS
THROUGHOUT THE SUMMER OF 2006,              Web sites. Warman said that the Web        CANADA CUSTOMS SEIZED COPIES
David Bernans, author of North of 9/11,     sites—which belong to a Nazi sym-          of Cherry, a novel written by British
clashed with officials at Concordia         pathizer in Roanoke, Virginia—urge         author Charlotte Cooper, reported Out
University in Montreal over whether         people to “take violent action” against    in America, an online news source for
he had permission to read his novel         Warman and provide Warman’s home           homosexuals, in August 2006. At least
on campus. North of 9/11 describes          address.                                   CONTINUED ON PAGE 6

                                                                                                          FREEDOM TO READ 2007   |5
N E W S        B Y T E S

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5                        also said that Indigo and its subsidiary   tion of ownership has reached levels
two bookstores in British Columbia—          companies would inspect future issues      that few other countries would con-
Bleeding Rose in Victoria and Little         to determine their suitability for sale.   sider acceptable.”
Sister’s Book and Art Emporium in               In late May, Indigo withdrew the June      The report’s summary said: “an
Vancouver—were importing the novel.          issue of Harper’s from newsstands. The     important element of a free press is
Officials at Canada Customs said             American magazine had reproduced all       that there be a variety of different
that Cherry, which depicts the sexual        12 of the cartoons about the Muslim        sources of news and opinion. This can
adventures of a lesbian in London, was       prophet Mohammed that had appeared         only be guaranteed if there is a plurali-
obscene.                                     in Jyllands-Posten, a Danish newspa-       ty of owners. The country will be poorly
INTERNET RACIST JAILED FOR                   per, in September 2005. Harper’s had       served if as few as one, two or three
CONTEMPT OF COURT                            also published a critical essay by famed   groups control substantial portions of
                                             cartoonist Art Spiegelman about con-       the news and information media in par-
                                             troversial cartoons.                       ticular markets or within the country
and jailed Tomasz Winnicki, a white
                                                On May 26, Indigo instructed its        as a whole. In simple terms, there is a
supremacist in Ontario, for contempt
                                             managers by e-mail on how to respond       public interest in having a plurality of
of court. Winnicki had ignored an order
                                             “if customers question Indigo’s censor-    owners.”
(dated October 6, 2005) of the Federal
                                             ship” of Harper’s: “the content about         The report recommended that
Court of Canada to stop spreading race
                                             to be published has been known to          the federal government reform the
hatred over the Internet.
                                             ignite demonstrations around the           Competition Act to require automatic
  On July 12, 2006, Justice Konrad von
                                             world. Indigo [and its subsidiaries]       reviews of big media mergers, but the
Finckenstein of the Federal Court of
                                             Chapters and Coles will not carry this     report explicitly rejected government
Canada declared: “[Winnicki’s messag-
                                             particular issue of the magazine but       “interference in the editorial or internal
es] have the same vile content and the
                                             will continue to carry other issues of     working of news gathering organiza-
unrelenting message of hatred for Jews
                                             this publication in the future.”           tions.”
and contempt for people of the Black
race and/or immigrants. He has shown
                                             SASKATCHEWAN COURT CLEARS                  GAY FAIRY TALE SPARKS NEW
no remorse for his contempt.”
                                             CREATOR OF ANTI-GAY AD                     DISPUTE IN SURREY, B.C.
  Winnicki received nine months in
                                             ON APRIL 13, 2006, SASKATCHEWAN’S          IN APRIL 2006, A COMMITTEE OF
                                             Court of Appeal ruled that Hugh            Surrey’s school board rejected the
INDIGO REJECTS SALE OF                       Owens, a Christian, did not violate the    proposed use in the earliest elemen-
CONTROVERSIAL MAGAZINES                      province’s human rights code when          tary grades of a children’s book with
ON JULY 6, 2006, INDIGO BOOKS                he placed an anti-homosexual ad in         a homosexual theme. The book, King
and Music, Canada’s largest book and         Saskatoon’s StarPhoenix in 1997.           and King by Linda de Haan and Stern
magazine retailer, declared that it had        The ad displayed two stick-men hold-     Nijland, tells the story of two princes
accidentally dropped the June-July           ing hands within a circular “banned”       who get married in a fairy-tale kingdom.
issue of Free Inquiry, a magazine pub-       symbol and cited four anti-homosexual        Doug Strachan, a spokesman for the
lished in the United States. The issue       verses in the Bible. The newspaper ran     school district, said staff rejected King
of Free Inquiry contained an essay           the ad during a gay pride celebration in   and King because the writing and style
entitled “The Freedom to Ridicule            Saskatchewan.                              of the book were too sophisticated for
Religion—and Deny the Holocaust” by                                                     readers in kindergarten and the first
Peter Singer, a professor at Princeton       SENATORS WARN OF FEWER                     three grades. Strachan said that staff
University.                                  OWNERS AND FEWER VOICES                    had not rejected King and King for its
  Joel Silver, Indigo’s senior vice-presi-   ON JUNE 21, 2006, THE CANADIAN             “sensitive content.”
dent of print procurement, apologized        Senate’s Standing Committee on               “The idea that this book is too
to Tom Flynn, Free Inquiry’s editor, for     Transport and Communications               sophisticated for these kids is ridicu-
the accident and pledged to sell the         released its Final Report on the           lous,” said Joan Beecroft of Egale
issue. Earlier in the week, however,         Canadian News Media. The two-volume        Canada, a gay advocacy organization.
Flynn had reported that Indigo had           report, which was the result of more       “Is Hansel and Gretel too sophisticated
refused to stock the June-July issue         than three years of study, said that in    because it deals with a witch wanting
without giving him a reason. Flynn           some parts of Canada “the concentra-       to eat little children? Is Snow White

6 | FREEDOM   T O R E A D 2007
              too sophisticated because the Queen        charge was dropped in January 2006.
              attempts to murder Snow White? How           In 1989, Pamuk was also the first
              can the love of two princes be too         prominent writer in the Muslim world
              sophisticated for primary learners?”       to defend Salman Rushdie for publish-

                                                                                                                                                  DR. RAMIN JAHANBEGLOO
                James Chamberlain, a primary             ing The Satanic Verses. In February of
              schoolteacher in Surrey, had sub-          that year, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini
              mitted King and King for use in            of Iran condemned Rushdie and his
              Surrey’s schools. From 1997 to 2002,       publishers to death for producing the
              Chamberlain and others successfully        novel.
              challenged the Surrey school board
                                                         RUSSIAN JOURNALIST MURDERED
              in the courts when the board refused                                                  Dr. Ramin Jahanbegloo
              to use three similar children’s picture    ON OCTOBER 7, 2006, ANNA
                                                         Politkovskaya, an investigative journal-      Immediately after his release,
              books with homosexual themes in
                                                         ist whose work criticized the Russian      Jahanbegloo said to Iranian student
              kindergarten and Grade 1.
                                                         war in Chechnya and Russian President      journalists that his scholarly work
                                                         Vladimir Putin, was gunned down in         had been misused by foreign intel-
              INTERNATIONAL                              Moscow in apparent reprisal for her        ligence agencies hostile to the Islamic
                                                         reporting. No arrests were made.           Republic of Iran. Iranian authorities
                                                            In 1999, Politkovskaya began writ-      may confiscate Jahanbegloo’s house
                                                         ing for Novaya Gazeta about the war        and his mother’s house if he violates
                                                         in Chechnya. By her own admission,         the conditions of his release.
                                                         she became obsessed with exposing
                                                                                                    NEW INVESTIGATION DEMANDED
                                                         the killings, torture, and beatings of
                                                                                                    IN PHOTOJOURNALIST’S DEATH
                                                         civilians by Russian soldiers there. In
                                                         2003, she published A Small Corner of      ON JULY 10, 2006, REPORTERS
                                                         Hell: Dispatches from Chechnya and,        Without Borders called for a new and
                                                         in 2004, she published A Dirty War:        proper investigation into the death of
                                                         A Russian Reporter in Chechnya. She        photojournalist Zahra Kazemi in Iran.
                                                         received many death threats.                 In 2003, Kazemi, an Iranian-born
                                                            Politkovskaya won numerous interna-     Canadian citizen, was imprisoned for

                                                         tional awards for her courage, including   taking photographs of a student-led
                                                         Sweden’s Olof Palme Prize in 2004. The     demonstration outside Evin prison in
                                                         prize honoured her work for the “long      Tehran. She died in prison on July 11,
              Orhan Pamuk
                                                         battle for human rights in Russia.”        2003, after having been raped and tor-
              CONTROVERSIAL TURKISH                                                                 tured by Iranian authorities.
              AUTHOR WINS NOBEL PRIZE                    IRANIAN-CANADIAN INTELLECTUAL                On November 16, 2005, a court of
              ON OCTOBER 12, 2006, THE SWEDISH           FREED FROM PRISON                          appeal in Tehran upheld the acquittal
              Academy awarded the Nobel Prize            ON AUGUST 30, 2006, IRANIAN                of Reza Aghdam Ahmadi for murdering
              for Literature to Turkish writer Orhan     authorities released Ramin                 Kazemi.
              Pamuk. His best-known novels include       Jahanbegloo, an Iranian-born Canadian
              Snow and My Name Is Red.                   citizen, on bail from Evin prison in       LIBRARIANS NAME THE MOST
                Pamuk is also known for his clashes      Tehran. They had detained Jahanbegloo      CHALLENGED BOOK IN AMERICA
              with Turkey’s government and Turkish       four months earlier for drafting a pro-    ON MARCH 7, 2006, THE AMERICAN
              nationalists. In 2005, he told a Swiss     posal for the German Marshall Fund of      Library Association reported that pub-
              newspaper that “thirty thousand Kurds      the United States, an institution that     lic libraries and schools in the United
              and a million Armenians were killed        promotes co-operation between the          States had received 405 formal, written
              in these lands, and nobody but me          United States and Europe. Jahanbegloo      challenges to books in 2005. The most
              dares to talk about it.” Pamuk was         had compared Iranian and Eastern           frequently challenged book was Robie
              charged in a Turkish court with “insult-   European intellectuals, and he had         Harris’s It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing
              ing Turkishness” and faced a possible      discussed the role a civil society could   Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual
              three years in prison, although the        play in the overthrow of a government.     Health, an educational book for kids. •

                                                                                                                      FREEDOM TO READ 2007   |7

                                                                             THE BLOGOSPHERE:
                                        Free Speech Limits in an

                                    WORLD                                                        BY BENITA AALTO

                                               OLICY OPTIONS                 at Birth II.” The tastelessness of the
                                               declared 2006 the “year       “jest,” as Klander called it, was mag-
                                               of the blog.” The maga-       nified by his role as the executive
                                               zine noted that Canadian      vice-president of the Ontario Liberal
                                               blogs broke major stories,    party and by bloggers digging through
                                 zapped politicians, and became a form       Klander’s previous posts to—as the
                                 of digital newsroom that sometimes          CBC’s John Bowman put it—“publish
                                 outperformed its print and broadcast        more information on the topic than any
                                 counterparts.                               newspaper ever could.”

                                   “Blogs are certainly part of the future     As the “year of the blog” wound
                                 of journalism,” claims Nick Packwood,       down, Garth Turner, the MP for Halton,
                                 who blogs at Ghost of a Flea. “‘Blog        Ontario, was ousted from the federal
                                 swarms’ provide massively distrib-          Conservative party caucus, in part
                                 uted/networked editing expertise that       because of his comments on his blog
                                 should improve both journalism as a         about party policies. One of Turner’s
                                 profession and journalism as the out-       constituents in Milton attended the
                                 put of that profession.”                    press conference the day after Turner’s
                                                                             ouster and blogged on the event.
                                   One such swarm happened at the
                                 end of 2005 and heralded the begin-            “Blogging is about a conversation
                                 ning of the “year of the blog.” On          with the masses ...” he wrote. “It is
                                 Mike Klander’s blog, photos of New          what I want from my elected officials.
                                 Democratic candidate Olivia Chow and        I do not want press releases and
                                 a chow chow dog were posted above           filtered fluff.” The constituent’s post
                                 the caption “Chow and Chow Chow”            on The Nears expressed what some
                                 and below the headline “Separated           people feel is the strength of blogs:

8 | FREEDOM   T O R E A D 2007
the democratization of information           enough hassle lately that puts the           laws in response to Kinsella’s lawsuit.
through technology and the impor-            whole site in jeopardy. I will be looking    He also wondered, “Is this an attempt
tance of the “citizen journalist.”           into a registration process ... but I also   at suppressing criticism? Is it there-
   Some blogs attempt to go beyond           do not have the time or inclination to       fore a threat to all bloggers and com-
the contraints of the mainstream media       check for increasing libellous material      menters? ... This will be a big wake-up
(or MSM as it’s called in the blogo-         so (I’m) not even sure that will solve       call: defamation suits can stem from
sphere) to provide in-depth informa-         the problems.”                               conversations too, and so every post
tion. How’d They Vote? gave readers             As Michael Geist, a professor of law      and every comment on a blog is subject
the complete voting and speaking             at the University of Ottawa, notes: “In      to the same defamation laws.”
records of every MP. Cory Horner, an         Canada, under common law, the third            Steve Janke gained notoriety for
electrical engineer in Kamloops, British     party can be held liable if the content      using his blog, Angry in the Great
Columbia, designed software that lets        is found to be defamatory. The ISPs          White North, to circumvent a press ban
readers find out how many words their        [Internet Service Providers] will take       issued during closed testimony of the
MP uttered and how many times their          content down based merely on an alle-        Gomery inquiry—a ban that included
MP missed a vote during the 2004–05          gation that the content is defamatory.”      the Internet as well as print and broad-
sitting of the House of Commons.             Geist believes this legislation creates a    cast media.1 Janke linked to Captain’s
   Another blogger, going only by the        free speech chill in cyberspace because      Quarters, an American blog that was
handle Buckets of Grewal, laboriously        it is less risky for ISPs or Web sites to    posting leaked transcripts of Gomery
studied transcriptions of conversa-          remove content than to keep it up and        testimony. Although many bloggers
tions recorded by Germant Grewal, the        attract legal action.                        and mainstream journalists knew of
Conservative MP who claimed that he             Geist points to the example of People     Captain’s Quarters, none posted links
had been offered rewards for cross-          to People (at, which was         or mentioned the name of the blog on
ing the floor to join the Liberals. The      sued by the owner of Kazaa for posting       air for fear of reprisals.
Liberal party denied the allegations:        allegedly defamatory comments about
                                                                                            “At first, I dropped my links like just
tapes and transcripts were released to       Kazaa by People to People readers.
                                                                                          about everyone else. I was worried
the press, and Buckets began the ardu-       Geist calls for a change in the law to
                                                                                          about the legal ramifications of break-
ous task of comparing and contrasting        provide immunity for ISPs and bloggers
                                                                                          ing the ban,” says Janke. “But most of
the various transcriptions in circulation.   “who are contributing to a robust on-
                                                                                          all, I wanted to take a stand that might
  Bending the customs of the main-           line dialogue but today are vulnerable
                                                                                          change the way Canadian authorities
stream press by electronically publish-      to lawsuits whose primary purpose
                                                                                          in government and in the judiciary
ing arcana such as Hansard data, audio       may be to suppress free speech.”
                                                                                          deal with issues that affect our right to
tapes, or Photoshopped dogs is one             Mark Bourrie became famous                 judge for ourselves. And so the links
thing, but bloggers are discovering          amongst Canadian bloggers for legal          went back up, as did the commentary.”
that their amateur efforts are held to       run-ins with political blogger Warren
the same legal standard as anything          Kinsella in February 2006. It is beyond         Justice John Gomery eventually
printed with ink on dead trees.              the scope of this article to fully delin-    lifted most of the ban, leading at least
                                             eate their entanglements, which were         one columnist, Rondi Adamson in the
  Sometimes it’s not the content of the
                                             reported in the Ottawa Sun on February       Christian Science Monitor, to speculate
blog, but comments posted about the
                                             15. Suffice it to say: a settlement          that the blogosphere played no small
content, that cause trouble. Comments
                                             was eventually reached. Kinsella—a           role in changing his mind.
Please—a page devoted to posting
comments by readers of bloggers such         lawyer, author, and former advisor to
                                                                                            And while there are challenges for
as Maclean’s political columnist Paul        Prime Minister Jean Chrétien—became
                                                                                          people who hit legal walls in their pur-
Wells, Toronto Star media columnist          famous amongst bloggers for his rigor-
                                                                                          suit of on-line freedom, the potential
Antonia Zerbisias, and comedian Rick         ous pursuit of what he perceives to be
                                                                                          for renewed debate and journalistic
Mercer—closed up shop in March 2006          defamatory statements about him in
                                                                                          vigor has returned to the people who
because of host Andrew Clark’s fear          the blogosphere.
                                                                                          stand to benefit the most. •
of legal reprisals. Zerbisias quoted           Ted Betts, a lawyer who blogs at
                                                                                          1 Justice John Gomery chaired the Commission
Clark in her blog (Azerbic at thestar., post-         of Inquiry into the Sponsorship Program and as saying, “I’ve had        ed a primer on Canada’s defamation           Advertising Activities in 2004–06. – FC

                                                                                                            FREEDOM TO READ 2007         |9


The Dispute Over THREE WISHES
in Ontario’s Schools

             N FEBRUARY 8, 2006, THE        March 15, 2006, at least five school
             Canadian Jewish Congress       boards had set restrictions on readers
             (CJC) sent a letter to the     of the book in the elementary grades.
             Ontario Library Association    The news media covered the contro-
             (OLA) strongly objecting       versy for weeks. Here, the participants
to the use of a children’s book called      explain their views.
Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli
Children Speak in the OLA’s Silver Birch
reading program in schools.
                                            Deborah Ellis, Author
   Three Wishes is a non-fiction book.
                                            NOT ALL VICTIMS ARE EQUAL, AND
It records the thoughts and feelings of
                                            not all children are equal.
Israeli and Palestinian children who live
in a world of strife and violence. The        We mark and mourn military
book’s author, Deborah Ellis, is a win-     deaths, but the deaths of civil-
ner of the Governor General’s Literary      ians go unnamed, uncounted,
Award.                                      and passed off as extra-collateral
                                            damage, part of the acceptable risk of      Three Wishes by Deborah Ellis
  The Silver Birch reading program                                                      (Groundwood Books, 2004) Cover photographs
                                            achieving our objectives.                   by David Turnley (Corbis/Magma) and
encourages children in Grades 4–6 in                                                    Micah Walter (Corbis/Magma)
Ontario’s schools to read from a list of      Some children are so precious, we
20 books. Professional librarians select    would gladly die rather than see them       crimes in a sensitive, respectful way.
the books for their quality. Schools do     harmed. Other children are considered       Otherwise, we are adding to the silence
not require students to take part in the    worthy only of slavery, eating garbage,     and the disappearance of the victims.
Silver Birch program, but more than         and being human punching bags.
                                                                                          The books we read as children stay
40,000 students do. In May, children          This is the world that we, as a human     with us our entire lives, taking root in
vote for their favourite book.              community, have created. We’re happy        our minds, helping us to decide who
   The CJC’s letter said that Ellis pro-    with it. If we weren’t, we would have       we will become. Free access to infor-
vided a flawed historical introduction      changed it, since we certainly have the     mation, to a wide variety of voices and
to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The    ability to do so. We like being igno-       experiences, is essential to us being
letter also said that some children         rant. We like being greedy, and we like     able to decipher the complexities of a
portrayed Israeli soldiers as brutal,       having an underclass of throwaway           crazy world—and to understand that
expressed ethnic hatred, and glori-         children.                                   the world is complex.
fied suicide bombing. The effect on           We created this mess, so why be             I have done many school talks
Canadian readers in Grades 4–6, the         delicate about having our handiwork         around my books about children in war.
letter concluded, was “toxic.” The          reflected in our literature for young       Kids can handle the truth about what is
CJC asked the OLA to withdraw Three         people? If children are tough enough to     being done to other children. It’s adults
Wishes from the Silver Birch program.       be bombed and starved, then they are        who get squeamish. They say, “We
  The letter also said that the CJC         also tough enough to read about it.         must protect our children from such
would be notifying school boards              I believe anything we subject chil-       things,” when really they are protecting
across Ontario about its concerns. Not      dren to should be reflected in our liter-   themselves from having to answer the
long afterward, school boards began         ature for young people, limited only by     question: “What are you doing to make
to review the use of Three Wishes. By       the skills of the writer to present these   the world better?”

10 | F R E E D O M   T O R E A D 2007
Len Rudner, Canadian                            THREE WISHES:
Jewish Congress                                 Canadian Children Speak
IN FEBRUARY 2006, A TEACHER AT                  “SWEARING IN BOOKS doesn’t encourage people to swear, drugs in
the York Region District School Board           books don’t encourage people to take drugs, and suicide bombing and
approached the Canadian Jewish                  other violence in books don’t encourage people to be violent! [The book]
Congress, Ontario Region (CJC),                 just tells them that there are such things and makes them aware of the
expressing concerns about the appro-            facts, not the fictional.”
priateness of including the book Three          —J., A GRADE 5 STUDENT
Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children
Speak as an entry in the Ontario                “WHY IS THIS BOOK being taken off the lists? There is nothing wrong with
Library Association’s (OLA) Silver Birch        it. It is a great book! As far as I am concerned, it’s totally unfair. Would it not
independent reading program for                 be more appropriate to simply leave it up to the parents as to whether or not
children in Grades 4 through 6.                 their children should read this book? I think this is a mistake by the school
                                                board in removing this book. If parents say no, then it is a no!
   CJC professionals as well as lay
                                                   “By the way, some people have said that it’s not accurate information as
leaders with extensive background in
                                                it comes from the children, not the adults. This is not an information book!
public education reviewed the mate-
                                                If you look at the cover, it says Children Speak! ... And children can relate to
rial and agreed. The CJC then wrote a
                                                each other much better than a child can relate to an adult.”
letter to the OLA and English-language
                                                —B., A GRADE 4 STUDENT
school boards in Ontario expressing its
concerns about the book’s appropriate-          “USUALLY I PICK UP A BOOK and read it from cover to cover without putting
ness for the age group in question and          it down. But this book, like Anne Frank’s Diary, is so sad, I had to read it
requesting that it re-evaluate its clas-        in short little chunks, maybe four stories at a time. It’s really hard to read
sification.                                     because you don’t know if these kids are still alive, or if they will be for
                                                much longer, and you want to understand how scared they are, but you can’t
  While some have characterized the
                                                really because you’ve never been through as much as they have.
CJC’s intervention as being censorious,
the facts are contrary to that conclu-            “Everybody should know about war, and it shouldn’t be censored. It pre-
sion. The goal was to promote a discus-         pares you for real life, when you’ll have to learn things like this.”
sion and have school boards actively            —C., A GRADE 6 STUDENT
review whether the book was appropri-
ate for promotion to kids between the         As a result of the CJC’s request to          preted by some as a demand that it be
ages of 9 and 12. That many did so was      examine the age-appropriateness of             removed from the shelf completely.
a positive outcome.                         Three Wishes, a number of school               Len Rudner is national director of
   The CJC’s position was that the effect   boards conducted their own assess-             community relations for the Canadian
of the statements made by the children      ment and stopped promoting the                 Jewish Congress.
in Ms. Ellis’s book would demonize          book as part of Silver Birch or placed
both Palestinians and Israelis and that     certain conditions on its use. Others
comments made in some interviews            determined no changes were required.           The Toronto District
could be seen as supportive of sui-         Regardless of outcome, the CJC                 School Board
cide bombing. Following a careful and       accepted each board’s judgment on
                                                                                           WHEN COMPLAINTS BY GROUPS OR
extensive review, the CJC felt such a       the matter.
                                                                                           individuals are made to the Toronto
message was inappropriate for stu-            It is unfortunate the debate that            District School Board (TDSB) regard-
dents in the primary grades to which        developed around Three Wishes was              ing the appropriateness of learn-
it had been promoted, particularly          inaccurately portrayed as a struggle           ing resources in school libraries or
because the Silver Birch program does       between freedom of expression and              classrooms, a formal process begins
not require teacher involvement to          censorship. It is a pity that a good-          to open dialogue. This process is in
provide information or context on the       faith request to have a particular book        accordance with established Board
books in the program.                       moved to a higher shelf was inter-             CONTINUED ON PAGE 12

                                                                                                           FREEDOM TO READ 2007    | 11

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 11                     recommended, with reservations, as         my family perished in the Holocaust.
policy: Operational Procedure C-007,       appropriate only for students in Grades    Those who survived emigrated to
Handling Concerns About Learning           7 and up.                                  either the United States or Israel after
Resources as outlined in A Teaching                                                   the war. All this happened prior to my
                                           3. ANY GRADE 7 OR 8 STUDENT WHO
Resource for Dealing with Controversial                                               birth, but I have been raised with an
                                           wishes to read Three Wishes may do so
and Sensitive Issues in Toronto District                                              awareness of the issues surround-
                                           by requesting a copy from the teacher-
School Board Classrooms.                                                              ing being Jewish and the formation of
                                           librarian who, in consultation with the
                                                                                      Israel as a sovereign state. I bring this
  In 2006, such a complaint and pro-       principal, will place copies of Three
                                                                                      background to any and all reading that
cess was followed by the TDSB regard-      Wishes in the library office.
                                                                                      I do on this subject.
ing Three Wishes by Deborah Ellis, a
                                           4. IN K TO 5 AND K TO 6 SCHOOLS, THE
nominee in this year’s OLA Silver Birch                                                  This book is not about who is right
                                           teacher-librarian, in consultation with
Award program.                                                                        and which side started the aggres-
                                           the principal, must redistribute copies
                                                                                      sion, but about what the effect is
   A Review Committee must weigh           of Three Wishes to elementary schools
                                                                                      on our most vulnerable members of
several factors (e.g., the complainant’s   with Grade 7 and 8 students or to sec-
                                                                                      society, namely children, when con-
arguments, previous decisions, the         ondary schools.
                                                                                      flict and war erupt. The book could be
Board’s criteria for selection of learn-
                                           5. WHEN INTRODUCING THE BOOK               set in any number of places around
ing resources) against the perceived
                                           and encouraging discussion, teach-         the world—the Sudan, the Balkans,
appropriateness of the resource. As in
                                           ers and teacher-librarians will provide    Northern Ireland, Rwanda, and—it
most school settings, the right to read
                                           context and diverse resources from the     could be argued—“hot spots” within
is not absolute and must be measured
                                           library collection.                        North America. It shows that children
against whether learning resources
                                                                                      raised in conflict are conflicted in their
match the learning needs and abilities     6. THE TDSB SUPPORTS THE ONTARIO
                                                                                      views and that, if they live in hate-filled
of students (e.g., age, maturity, cur-     Library Association in its Silver Birch
                                                                                      atmospheres, they learn to hate.
riculum relevance, and Board values).      program and requests that non-fiction
The TDSB does not ban materials, but       selections be added in its Forest of          As an educator reading the book
it reserves its right and responsibility   Reading programs at upper grades.          for the selection committee, I felt that
in making them accessible in the most                                                 Deborah Ellis did not purposefully
appropriate way in diverse school set-                                                leave out any details to skew the view
tings.                                                                                of the book; the book is not an attempt
  After due deliberation, the Review
                                           Peggy Thomas, Ontario                      to provide the complex historical
Committee recommended the                  Library Association                        facts surrounding the current situa-
following:                                                                            tion in Israel and Palestine. The book
                                           THREE WISHES: PALESTINIAN AND              attempts, rather, to provide a frame-
1.THREE WISHES IS A SIGNIFICANT            Israeli Children Speak by Deborah Ellis    work or context of conflict and war, and
and controversial book that depicts        was nominated for the 2006 Silver          the effect that they have on the chil-
the effects of conflict on children. The   Birch non-fiction award. The Ontario       dren living the reality of that conflict.
author’s purpose is to promote dia-        Community Relations Committee of
logue and empathy for the children         the Canadian Jewish Congress chal-           Three Wishes gives children, at the
of the conflict by giving them a voice.    lenged the selection of Three Wishes       time when they are constructing their
While questions have arisen about          and asked that the book be removed         views of the world, a chance to explore
particular details the author includes     from consideration for the Silver Birch    and relate to how they can start to
or excludes in Three Wishes, TDSB          award. They forwarded this request         make positive changes in a world
students have demonstrated that they       to the Ontario Library Association and     fraught with conflict, and how they can
have understood the author’s larger        to the directors of education of all the   choose to lead lives formed in peace. •
purpose.                                   school boards in Ontario. I chaired the    This is an edited version of an article
2. THE AGE APPROPRIATENESS OF              selection committee for Silver Birch       written by Peggy Thomas for the
such complex and sensitive material        this year, and this is my personal reac-   Ontario Library Association’s Web
remains an important issue in TDSB         tion to that challenge.                    site. Thomas is a teacher-librarian in
schools. Three Wishes, therefore, is         I am Jewish, and a good portion of       Ontario.

12 | F R E E D O M   T O R E A D 2007

Digital Davids v. Global Goliaths
         BY GREG SIMPSON                   the world. Deibert started the lab

             ROFESSOR RON DEIBERT          in 2001 with a grant from the Ford
             of the University of          Foundation and hired Villeneuve—
             Toronto is proud to be        based on his student papers on
             called a “hacker.”            Internet censorship in China—as
                                           the lab’s technical director.
                “Hacking used to mean
that you were interested in technology        Deibert, 42, is a self-professed ex-
and what was behind the surface—you        punk from East Vancouver turned
didn’t accept things at face value,”       political science professor. He is
says Deibert. He wants to reclaim the      very concerned with the accelera-
positive ideas behind hacking in the       tion of censorship on the Internet.
same way he wants to reclaim the             “The Internet is not this seamless
original ideals of the free exchange of    frontier anymore,” he says. “It is a
                                                                                          citizens about
information that are the underpinnings     network that has all sorts of filters,
                                                                                          Internet censorship and
of the Internet.                           choke points, and other areas where
                                                                                          surveillance, and to help them fight it.
  “We live in a world surrounded by        governments and corporations can
                                                                                            A software program, called psiphon,
computers, cell phones, and televi-        control, intercept, and block access to
                                                                                          was developed to allow users in cen-
sions,” he says. “There are all kinds      information.”
                                                                                          sored countries to link up with the
of points in the system where govern-         He and Villeneuve have joined               computers of trusted family members
ments and corporations can exert con-      researchers at such prominent universi-        or friends in uncensored countries and
trol over us if we don’t question it and   ties as Harvard, Oxford, and Cambridge         to use those computers as servers
try to understand it.”                     to form the OpenNet Initiative, which          or proxies to surf the Internet. When
  As the Internet revolution spreads       just received a US$3 million MacArthur         people use psiphon, no government
into developing nations, many govern-      Foundation grant to research what              official can discover what sites are
ments want to control their citizens’      gets filtered on the Internet, in which        being accessed, and there is no sign
access to the increased flow of infor-     country, and by whom. Diebert and              of the program on the computer if it is
mation. Governments use filtering          Villeneuve were the catalysts for the          ever seized.
(censorship) and monitoring (eaves-        creation of this international project,
                                                                                             Deibert and Villeneuve launched
dropping) tools, many purchased from       and they act as the technical team in
                                                                                          psiphon in December 2006, creating
Western software companies.                the coalition.
                                                                                          personal electronic “social networks”
   The most prominent of these offi-         OpenNet’s research has revealed              between those in developed and devel-
cial censors is Chinese Premier Hu         extensive censorship affecting millions        oping countries and those living under
Jintao with his “Great Firewall,” which    of people around the world. Millions           censorship and the comparatively free.
restricts Internet access for China’s      might have access to the Internet with         Deibert sees Canada, with its multi-
more than 150 million surfers. However,    cheaper and more accessible technol-           cultural communities and their many
filtering and monitoring happen in         ogy, but their governments are doing           links to other countries, as the perfect
many other countries too, including        everything to limit what citizens see          place to create these electronic “help-
Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Singapore, and      when they log on.                              ing hands.” Psiphon was designed so
Burma.                                        Citizen Lab has another project that        that the average person can easily use
  Professor Deibert and his student        it hopes may combat these increasing           his or her computer to foster Internet
Nart Villeneuve run the Citizen Lab at     restrictions. CiviSec is the activist “flip-   freedom for friends and relatives back
U. of T. where they research and try to    side” of the research focus of OpenNet;        home.
combat Internet censorship all over        CiviSec’s purpose is to raise awareness        CONTINUED ON PAGE 14

                                                                                                        FREEDOM TO READ 2007   | 13

                                                                                      even compared to the U.S. with all its
                                                                                      security concerns since 9/11.”
                                                                                        No one is keeping track of what is
                                                                                      being filtered and for what reasons,
                                                                                      Deibert claims, and there is little demo-
                                                                                      cratic control over these activities in
                                                                                      Canada. “We need to lift the lid off the
                                                                                      Internet and hold those who set the
                                                                                      rules of the game accountable for what
                                                                                      they’re doing because these activities
                                                                                      are going on largely in secret.”
“THE PROBLEM WITH INTERNET                                                               Once a country has implemented
FILTERING IS NOBODY IS WATCHING                                                       Internet censorship with initially
                                                                                      “good” intentions, it becomes tempting
THE WATCHERS ...”                                                                     to use the same technology to restrict
                                                                                      other information. Thailand brought in
— RON DEIBERT, Professor, University of Toronto
                                                                                      filtering programs to block sites about
                                                                                      its notorious sex-tourism trade and
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 13                     flict studies. He eventually transferred   soon afterward blocked sites about
  Villeneuve, the creator of this anti-    to the University of Toronto, where        human rights and government corrup-
censorship software, is a decade           he became a student of Professor           tion.
younger than Deibert and, coinci-          Deibert’s. Villeneuve now travels all
                                                                                        Villeneuve says that it’s difficult
dentally, spent some of his formative      over the world studying and combat-
                                                                                      for Western governments to pressure
years in rough East Vancouver. He was      ting Internet censorship.
                                                                                      other nations to keep the Internet free
a self-admitted lousy student who,            Villeneuve is extremely concerned       and open when Western governments
upon graduation, worked at a dead-         about the creeping government filter-      are using many of the same censor-
end printer’s job. His reading of Noam     ing and monitoring tactics that are        ing tactics, although not in quite such
Chomsky and Karl Marx opened his           being used all over the world. Even in     a repressive fashion. He believes the
eyes to global repression. He became       Western nations such as Canada and         West would have more credibility if it
an anti-globalization activist, taking     the United States, the wars against        cleaned up its own government censor-
part in many protests, including the       child pornography, hate speech, and        ship and monitoring.
1999 protests in Seattle against the       terrorism are being used to justify
World Trade Organization.                  increased blocking of sites and moni-        According to Deibert, protecting
                                           toring of Internet traffic. Both Deibert   freedom on the Internet is espe-
  When Villeneuve first signed on to
                                           and Villeneuve agree that child pornog-    cially important because “it is the one
the Internet using an ancient free dial-
                                           raphy is indefensible, but filtering the   unique medium that links individuals
up service, a hacker was born. He and
                                           Internet is a crude and easily abused      to other individuals worldwide, unlike
a roommate taught themselves how to
                                           technique. Some attempts at restric-       television, radio, and newspapers,
get rid of the banner advertisements
                                           tion lead to “overblocking” where sites    which all send information one way
that came with the service and how to
                                           unrelated to the targetted sites are       and only have certain points of views
extend the hours to allow unlimited
                                           blocked: in Pennsylvania, for example,     expressed.”
surfing time. These primitive attempts
to “fight the power” made them mem-        attempts to block 200 sites resulted in      “In light of all the problems that face
bers of the on-line communities of         the blocking of more than two million      humanity—from nuclear weapons to
hackers and Internet freedom advo-         innocent sites.                            environmental degradation—we need
cates.                                        “The problem with Internet filtering    to have a free space to exchange infor-
  This initial pushing against the         is nobody is watching the watchers,”       mation if we’re going to have any hope
boundaries opened a new world for          says Deibert. “There is little citizen     of solving those problems.” •
Villeneuve. Before he knew it, he was      oversight in Canada over governmental      Greg Simpson is a Toronto writer with
back in college taking peace-and-con-      Internet censorship and surveillance,      an interest in arts, culture, and media.

14 | F R E E D O M   T O R E A D 2007

Canadians Debate the Dissemination of
Denmark’s Mohammed Cartoons

            N SEPTEMBER 30, 2005,
            Jyllands-Posten, a Danish
            newspaper, published 12
            cartoons of the Muslim
            prophet Mohammed. One
image showed him wearing a turban
shaped like a bomb. Many Muslims,
who regard any depiction of their
prophet as sacrilegious, were outraged
or upset.
   The cartoons were reprinted in many
countries in January and February
2006, prompting deadly protests
throughout the Muslim world. In Syria,
Iran, and Indonesia, mobs destroyed      “ WHY SHOULD WE INSULT AND UPSET
Danish embassies; in Lebanon, a
mob destroyed the Danish consul-
                                         AN IMPORTANT PART OF OUR AUDIENCE
ate. Peaceful Muslim demonstrations
also occurred around the world, and
                                         FOR ABSOLUTELY NO PUBLIC VALUE?”
Muslims boycotted Danish products.        —TONY BURMAN, editor-in-chief, CBC News
  In Canada, journalists debated
whether to show the cartoons in the                                                  financial health, or simply out of fear
                                         or Islam. The cartoons were Exhibit A in
news media. In this section, four                                                    of a politically correct backlash. Other
                                         the biggest news story of the season:
Canadians—three journalists and one                                                  excuses were proffered: the cartoons
                                         the riots around the Muslim world,
university president—present their                                                   were too disrespectful, or too juvenile,
                                         riots that had as their “official” raison
arguments for and against showing                                                    or unimportant to the story. None of
                                         d’être the cartoons themselves. In
the cartoons to the public.                                                          those excuses is credible. Criticisms
                                         fact, that was the sole newsworthiness
                                         of the cartoons: that they were the         that the cartoons were poorly drawn or
                                         “cause” of riots.                           juvenile are not a rationale for censor-
Why the Western                                                                      ship—they actually magnify the news-
Standard Published                          The cartoons are, by any Western
                                                                                     worthiness of riots in the face of such
                                         standard, bland. One simply depicted
the Cartoons                             a man in the desert with a donkey—a
                                                                                     trivial offences.
          BY EZRA LEVANT                 picture that would not be out of place        The media, which is liberal to the
THE WESTERN STANDARD HAD NO              in a child’s Bible. Several had a politi-   point of libertine when it comes to
complex rationale for printing the       cal edge to them, but nothing more          offending religion, became quite fun-
Danish cartoons depicting Mohammed.      ribald than is seen in daily newspapers     damentalist on the subject of Islam.
The cartoons were news; we are a         across the West.                            There are two possible explanations:
newsmagazine. That’s about it.                                                       the first is that the cartoons were so
                                           But soon the larger story emerged:
                                                                                     outrageous that even a media culture
  We did not print them as an expres-    that other media censored themselves
sion of our own views on Mohammed        out of fear for their physical safety or    CONTINUED ON PAGE 16

                                                                                                   FREEDOM TO READ 2007   | 15

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 15                       to our panelists in the studio for their    Christ or the Virgin Mary engaged in
saturated with sex and violence was          reactions. Viewer reactions were mixed:     unspeakably offensive acts?
pushed too far. The other explanation        we got plenty of supportive and some
                                                                                           Had they been Christian protesters,
is that a media culture that so bravely      negative e-mail. Most of the outraged
                                                                                         would the media have treated them
fights against harmless foes like long-      people were non-Muslims.
                                                                                         differently? Would we, perhaps, have
dead Senator McCarthy is actually
                                                The story did not die, and we faced      understood their rage a bit better?
terrified of radical Islam, and when it is
                                             the decision of whether to air them           At the CBC, we decided not to show
time to prove their freedom bona fides,
                                             again. We did not. By that time the         the original cartoons in our extensive
hides under a smokescreen of “respect
                                             story had subtly shifted to whether or      coverage of the controversy. We felt
for religion” bromides.
                                             not it was good to publish them. By air-    that we could easily describe the draw-
  No, the Western Standard doesn’t           ing them a second time, we’d be mak-        ings in simple and clear English with-
have to explain how we handled the           ing a political statement and, as a pub-    out actually showing them. This was
newsworthy cartoons. But a lot of other      lic broadcaster, we’re not in the busi-     intended, without embarrassment, as
editors and producers do.                    ness of making political statements.        an act of respect not only for Islam but
Ezra Levant is the publisher and co-           We’re not idiots; we knew we were         for all religions.
founder of the Western Standard, a           going to offend people. But you can’t         Why should we insult and upset
political journal in Calgary.                have the right not to be offended           an important part of our audience
                                             in this world. Journalists can’t walk       for absolutely no public value? We
                                             around with a list of what’s offensive      wouldn’t have done that if it involved
Why TVOntario Broadcast                      or forbidden. My belief is, you interfere   overt examples of racism or anti-
the Cartoons                                 as little as possible with a story. Other   Semitism or libel. Where do we draw
                                             than direct incitements to murder or        the line? Shouldn’t the media be part
               BY DAN DUNSKY
                                             mob violence, I say lay off the limits to   of the solution, not the problem?
DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY AIRED ON                 freedom of speech.
                                                                                            One of the main U.S. networks high-
Fridays, and the episode that week was
                                             Dan Dunsky was senior producer of           lighted the most egregious of the car-
about Iran’s nuclear program. But the
                                             Diplomatic Immunity on TVOntario and        toons in its news report and repeated
story about the cartoons was starting
                                             is now the executive producer of The        these images in the headlines and
to break, so by Wednesday, we started
                                             Agenda with Steve Paikin on TVOntario.      promotion during its evening newscast.
researching that story. On Thursday,
                                                                                         During the debate that led to this deci-
the story made the evening news, and
                                                                                         sion, I suspect there was a lot of talk
by Friday the issue was the protests
                                                                                         about “freedom of speech” and “the
about the cartoons, so I told another        Why CBC News Drew
                                                                                         public’s right to know” and about the
DI producer to find the cartoons on the      the Line                                    threat of “self-censorship.”
Web for use on air.
                                                       BY TONY BURMAN                       Had I been there, I would have
   I think we were the only major broad-
                                             THE 12 CARTOONS IN QUESTION WERE            reminded this crowd that the multi-bil-
caster in Canada who did air the car-
                                             originally printed in a Danish publica-     lion dollar company that owns their
toons. It was never a big decision at all.
                                             tion last September [2005] and reprint-     news organization muzzles stories
I discussed it with the show’s executive
                                             ed recently in other European news-         from entire parts of the world, such as
producer for about 20 seconds. This
                                             papers. Not only did they depict the        South America and Africa, each and
was a news story: people were rioting
                                             Prophet in drawings, these cartoons         every night of the year by not having
over something; if we knew what that
                                             equated him with terrorists and suicide     any journalists posted there. When will
something was, of course we were
                                             bombers among other things. Looking         they get around to discussing that form
going to show it. That’s 100 per cent in
                                             at them in their crude portrayal, they      of media “censorship”?
keeping with journalistic principles and
guidelines. We still did our show about      seem more an act of stupidity than an         We need to be held accountable for
Iran, but we gave the last five to ten       act of satire, but—whatever they were       what we choose to include or exclude.
minutes to the cartoons. Steve Paikin,       intended to be—they are not subtle.         For how we frame the issues or dodge
the host, introduced them and we               What if those cartoons had instead        them.
showed about seven of them and went          focused on Christianity? And on Jesus       This is an edited version of an article

16 | F R E E D O M   T O R E A D 2007
posted on Tony Burman is          My assessment was that there were        call: press freedom versus public
the editor-in-chief of CBC News.           great risks for UPEI and for our learning   disorder and religious humiliation.
                                           environment and that the publication           Some will say that we made the
                                           of the cartoons was a reckless invita-      wrong call. ... While I respect others
Why the University of PEI                  tion to disorder and humiliation. Based     who take a different view on this, I am
                                           on this assessment, it was decided not
Blocked a Newspaper’s                      to permit the distribution of The Cadre
                                                                                       absolutely convinced that our learning
                                                                                       environment is better for having lim-
Distribution                               on UPEI property. Fewer than 100 cop-       ited the publication of the caricatures.
[The Cadre, a student newspaper at         ies of the paper were gathered up by        Students and colleagues are talking, in
the University of Prince Edward Island     UPEI security personnel. There were         and out of class, about religious beliefs
(UPEI), was one of the few Canadian        approximately 200 in circulation by         and differences and about press free-
newspapers to reprint the cartoons.        that time. Seventeen hundred copies         dom and responsibility. We are more
But the university’s administration        of the paper remained in the hands of       alert to how intricately UPEI and PEI
acted to prevent distribution of The       The Cadre or the Student Union. By          are laced into the global context and
Cadre.—FC]                                 late Wednesday, the Student Union,          to the incendiary nature of our world.
                                           as owner of The Cadre, indicated its
     BY WADE MACLAUCHLAN                                                                  However we come out on the publica-
                                           opposition to the publication of the
                                                                                       tion or non-publication of the carica-
WHEN THE NEWS BROKE ON CBC THAT            caricatures and requested the return
                                                                                       tures, we cannot avoid the conclusion
the cartoons were in the February 8th      of the papers.
                                                                                       that things are very fragile. In a context
issue of The Cadre, making it the first       UPEI could defend the editorial
                                                                                       of such fragility, we do not have the
Canadian paper to publish them, I was      autonomy of the student newspaper,
                                                                                       luxury of justifying every act by saying:
shocked. Why should we choose to           or it could take a stand that we would
                                                                                       “Let the chips fall where they may.” •
repeat an act that had caused so much      not permit the circulation on our cam-
offence and trouble around the world       pus of images that have caused              Wade MacLauchlan is the president
and that was considered a religious        religious offence and significant disor-    and vice-chancellor of the University of
insult by Muslims everywhere?              der all over the world. It is not an easy   Prince Edward Island.

Varieties of Censorship
       BY FRANKLIN CARTER                     Censors are with us today too. But         Censorship is therefore necessary,

                                           they usually don’t describe themselves      the censors believe, to protect soci-
                                           as such because censors have reputa-        ety from itself and to prevent moral
            us for a long time.
                                           tions for being illiberal, dogmatic, and    decline.
               In ancient Athens, the      anti-intellectual.
             philosopher Plato recom-                                                    Second, censors use certain methods
                                              Fortunately, censors can be easily       to deny public access to “dangerous”
             mended that the guardians
                                           identified because they tend to think       or “objectionable” ideas and images.
of society censor literature, art, and
                                           and act in predictable ways.
science to protect public morals and                                                      If the censors are in the government,
                                              First, censors think of themselves as
piety.                                                                                 they will ban the production, distribu-
                                           enlightened, moral, and public-spirited
  In the Bible, the author of the Book                                                 tion, display, or sale of certain books
                                           (like Plato and Theophilus). They want
of Acts described the Ephesians in                                                     or magazines.2 The censors will pass
                                           a better society.
Greece destroying books of magic in                                                    restrictive laws and confiscate the
                                              Censors also believe that other
a public bonfire.1                                                                     offending publications.
                                           people are foolish, ignorant, or easily
  And in Egypt, Archbishop Theophilus      misled. These “other people” cannot            In some cases, government censors
of Alexandria burned down the temple       be trusted to behave responsibly or         license publishers and printers who
of Serapis in 389 to destroy its library   lawfully if they are exposed to “danger-    must then seek the censors’ permis-
of pagan manuscripts.                      ous” ideas and images.                      CONTINUED ON PAGE 18

                                                                                                     FREEDOM TO READ 2007    | 17

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 17                      Serbs destroyed evidence of Bosnia         of computers or networks from seeing
sion to publish. The censors deny per-      and Herzegovina’s multicultural history.   specific ideas and images.
mission to people who seek to publish
                                              These instances of censorship are          Governments around the world (e.g.,
“objectionable” books or magazines.
                                            obvious and appalling. But in other        in China and Iran) use Internet filtering
  The English poet John Milton con-         times and places, censors use subtler      to prevent political activists from com-
demned the government licensing             techniques.                                municating news and information to
of books in his essay Areopagitica                                                     other people.
                                               One alternative to banning or
in 1644. The essay remains a classic
                                            destroying a publication is expurga-          Most people lack formal powers
defence of free expression.
                                            tion. Censors delete the objectionable     of censorship; nonetheless, some of
  Some censors intimidate writers.          passages from a book or magazine.          these citizens also try to limit public
Intimidation includes threats of prose-     Casual readers cannot tell if any text     access to “objectionable” ideas and
cution in court, threats of job loss, and   has been omitted.                          images. These people challenge books
even threats of physical injury or death.     In England, the Rev. Thomas Bowdler      and magazines in public schools and
The censors’ threats encourage writers      (1754–1825) expurgated the Old             libraries.
to censor themselves.                       Testament and the plays of William           In a challenge, a citizen complains in
  In 1989, Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran       Shakespeare. He deleted and altered        writing about a publication in a library
urged Muslims to kill Salman Rushdie,       words that he considered “unfit to be      or school. The citizen often requests
the author of The Satanic Verses, for       read by a gentleman in the presence of     that the item be removed too. The
publishing “blasphemy.” The threat          ladies.”                                   person may act alone or represent a
sent Rushdie into hiding for years and        Today, people use the term bowdler-      group.
discouraged other writers from fiction-     ization as a synonym for expurgation.        In North America, most challenges
alizing the Koran.                                                                     probably go unrecorded; most chal-
                                              Another subtle method of censor-
  In extreme cases, government cen-         ship is Internet filtering. Censors use    lenges recorded by the American
sors authorize libricide: the systematic    special software to prevent the users      Library Association—the world’s larg-
state-sponsored destruction of                                                              est and oldest library associa-
books and libraries.                                                                                     tion—fail.

  In 1933, the German                                                                                      All censors threaten
Nazis burned more                                                                                       the intellectual free-
than 20,000 books                                                                                       dom of readers and
in a bonfire in Berlin.                                                                                 writers. Intellectual
They destroyed lit-                                                                                     freedom includes free-
erature by Roman                                                                                        dom of inquiry, free-
Catholic, Jewish,                                                                                       dom of expression,
communist, and “un-                                                                                     freedom of the press,
German” authors. The                                                                                    and the freedom to
Nazis talked about                                                                                      read. These freedoms
purging society of                                                                                      are the foundation
degenerate ideas.                                                                                       of a civil, democratic
                                                                                                        society. •
   In 1992, during the                                                                                   1 See Acts 19:19 in the New
siege of Sarajevo,                                                                                      Testament.
Serbian soldiers                                                                                        2 In fact, censors ban more
                                                                                                        than books and magazines.
shelled the National
                                                                                                       They also ban newspapers,
Library of Bosnia                                                                                       Web sites, films, musical
and Herzegovina.                                                                                         recordings, plays, photo-
                                                                                                           graphs, paintings, sketch-
In destroying                                                                                                 es, sculptures, maps,
most of the                                                                                                     cartoons, speeches,
                                                                                                                statistics, official
library’s 2.5 mil-                                                                                               documents, and
lion books, the                                                                                                  other items.

18 | F R E E D O M   T O R E A D 2007
Book Excerpt

Travelling from ancient Rome to modern North
America, award-winning journalist Val Ross tells
the true stories of censors, forbidden books, and
writers on the run in her new book, YOU CAN’T
books are powerful, and reading
unlocks that power.

The Evil World of—                           either. Das Schwarze Korps,
                                             the magazine of Hitler’s
Comic Books?                                 ruthless Schutzstaffel
                                             police, or SS, published

             BY VAL ROSS
              NLY A REMARKABLE               an article describing
              publication could be           [Superman creator] Jerry
              hated by two groups of         Siegel as “intellectually
              mortal enemies, the Nazis      and physically circum-
              and the anti-Nazis. Only       cised,” and added that “American            You Can’t Read This by Val Ross
                                                                                         (Tundra Books, 2006)
something outrageous could provoke           youth ... don’t even notice the poi-
demands for censorship from Adolf            son they swallow” when they read
                                             Superman. ...                               afford, he began to write articles
Hitler, Benito Mussolini—and United
                                                                                         claiming that comic books were
States senators, and writers such               The war ended in 1945. So did the
                                                                                         pushing modern American youth
as George Orwell (author of Animal           golden age of superhero comics. ...
                                                                                         into juvenile delinquency.
Farm and Nineteen Eighty-four). Well,        Instead of selling in the millions, an
the politics of censorship makes for         issue of Superman would sell a mere            In conferences and magazines,
strange banfellows; all these people         700,000 copies. ... Comic book pub-         Wertham kept up his attack. In his
disliked comic books—and one in              lishers scrambled frantically to figure     eyes, even the Man of Steel was dis-
particular, Superman. ... For the Nazis,     out what to try next. Some had already      gusting—in fact, he was a closet Nazi.
what mattered was not what Superman          shifted during the war to heavy crime       “Superman (with the big S on his uni-
did, but what he was: a wise-crack-          comics such as Crime Does Not Pay (a        form—we should, I suppose, be thank-
ing hero dreamed up by two Jewish-           particularly violent strip ...). By 1947,   ful it is not an SS) needs an endless
American kids from Cleveland, Ohio. ...      Crime Does Not Pay was outselling           stream of ever new sub-men, criminals
                                             Captain Marvel and Superman. ...            and foreign-looking people,” he wrote.
   By the end of 1941, with war raging,
                                                                                         “Superman has long been recognized
Superman was reaching about 35 mil-            Not everyone was amused. Frederic
                                                                                         as a symbol of violent race superiority.
lion people, by either radio or print. ...   Wertham had emigrated from Germany
                                                                                         ... [He] explicitly belongs to a super
Over in England, the anti-Nazi writer        in the 1920s to work in New York as a
George Orwell warned that Superman           psychologist specializing in troubled
fans had much in common with the             kids. ... When he noticed that many           ... Wertham’s anti-comic campaigns
“bully-worship” that had brought Hitler      juvenile delinquents read comic books,      were having an effect. In 1948 the city
and Mussolini to power. Yet Hitler           instead of concluding that maybe ten-       of Los Angeles announced that there
and Mussolini weren’t Superman fans          cent comics were all the kids could         CONTINUED ON PAGE 20

                                                                                                           FREEDOM TO READ 2007   | 19

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19                     that year. The U.S. Senate decided to       after the industry agreed to police itself
would be a $500 fine or six months in      hold a special session on links between     by adopting a new Comics Code. ...
jail as penalty for selling crime comics   mobsters and the comics industry. ...         In his old age, Frederic Wertham had
to kids under eighteen. In 1951 Canada     Wertham spoke to the Senate hearings        a change of heart. In 1974, in his last
passed a law against importing U.S.        first. He told chilling case histories of   book, The World of Fanzines: A Special
crime comics. ... One early 1950s EC       psychopaths who loved horror fantasy.       Form of Communication, he explained
comic, Crime SuspenStories, featured       ... When it came to teaching violence       that comic book fans were very nice
a cover showing an axe murderer,           and race hatred, he declared, “Hitler       kids after all. The book didn’t sell
hatchet still dripping, standing over a    was a beginner compared to the comic-       nearly as well as his earlier hysterical,
headless woman’s body. ... This partic-    book industry.”                             scare-mongering shockers. •
ular issue became one of [Wertham’s]          ... In the end, the Senate decided       This excerpt appears in You Can’t Read
major pieces of evidence in his crusade    that it couldn’t do much about comics       This: Forbidden Books, Lost Writing,
against comics. He used it in his book     without infringing on constitutional        Mistranslations & Codes by Val Ross
Seduction of the Innocent, published in    principles of free speech. It agreed        (Tundra Books, 2006) and is reprinted
1954. Things came to a head in May of      to stop short of banning comic books                             s
                                                                                       with the publisher’ permission.

                                           RUSHDIE REDUX:
                                           A Global Conflict Over Danish
                                           Cartoons Echoes the Crisis Over

                                           THE SATANIC VERSES
                                           BY FRANKLIN CARTER

                                           N SEPTEMBER 30, 2005, a Danish newspaper called
                                           Jyllands-Posten published 12 cartoons that depicted
                                           the Muslim prophet
                                           MOHAMMED. THE CARTOONS                      10 Muslim states urged Denmark’s
                                           lampooned Mohammed, Muslim                  Prime Minister Rasmussen to “take
                                           terrorism, and the newspaper’s              all those responsible to task.” When
                                           portrayal of Muslim immigrants.             Rasmussen refused, saying that “free-
                                           Flemming Rose, the newspaper’s              dom of expression is the very founda-
                                           editor, knew that many Muslims              tion of the Danish democracy” and
                                           regarded images of their prophet as         that the “government has no means of
                                           blasphemous, but he said that he            influencing the press,” Danish Muslims
                                           published the cartoons anyway               filed a criminal complaint against
                                           because he wanted to provoke a              Jyllands-Posten. In 2006, a prosecutor
                                           debate about the taboo on drawing           declined to press charges.
                                           Mohammed in Denmark.                          Stymied in Denmark, Danish Muslims
                                             In the following weeks, insulted          toured the Middle East with the 12
                                           Muslims tried to punish Jyllands-           cartoons and other offensive images
                                           Posten. In October, ambassadors from        to urge Muslim leaders to pressure

20 | F R E E D O M   T O R E A D 2007
the Danes for redress.1 In December       and Pakistan) banned the novel.
2005, the Organization of the Islamic     Even Venezuela—a country with few
Conference and the Arab League            Muslims—criminalized possession of
condemned the cartoons. In January        the book.
2006, the European news media began
                                            In Britain, the Union of Muslim
reprinting the Danish cartoons and
                                          Organizations asked the govern-
defending their right to publish blas-
                                          ment to prosecute Rushdie for blas-
phemy. On January 30, Jyllands-Posten
                                          phemy. The U.K. Action Committee
apologized for offending Muslims but
                                          on Islamic Affairs demanded
reaffirmed its decision to publish the
                                          the destruction of The Satanic
                                          Verses, an apology, and pay-
   As the conflict worsened, Jyllands-    ment of “damages” to a Muslim
Posten received bomb threats and the      charity. When these attempts
cartoonists received death threats.       were rebuffed, British Muslims
Throughout the world, Muslims             burned copies of the book in
demanded the censorship of the car-       Bolton (December 1, 1988) and
toons, boycotted Danish goods, and        Bradford (January 14, 1989).
marched in demonstrations. Across           On February 14, 1989, after
Asia, Muslim rioters burned Danish        deadly anti-Rushdie riots in
flags, attacked Western embassies, and    Pakistan and India, Ayatollah
clashed with police. Numerous arrests,    Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwa.         The Rushdie File edited by
shootings, and deaths occurred before     He ordered “all zealous Muslims” to      Lisa Appignanesi and Sara Maitland
                                                                                   (Syracuse University Press, 1990)
the violence petered out in March         kill Rushdie and his publishers for
2006.                                     publishing The Satanic Verses. In
  But no observer should have been        Britain, Rushdie went into hiding. He    include secular liberals and Muslims.
surprised by this outburst. A similar     escaped death, but in the early 1990s      The Rushdie File helps explain the
conflict between Muslims and lib-         zealots bombed bookstores that sold      conflict. The secular liberals argue that
eral advocates of free expression had     the novel, injured the novel’s Italian   free expression includes the right (but
occurred only a few years before. This    translator and Norwegian publisher,      not the obligation) to commit blas-
conflict was caused by the publication    and murdered the novel’s Japanese        phemy. The orthodox Muslims argue
of a novel.                               translator.                              that free expression excludes the right
                                            In the conflicts over The Satanic      to commit blasphemy. For them, blas-
  On September 26, 1988, Salman
                                          Verses and Jyllands-Posten’s cartoons,   phemy—however defined—must be
Rushdie—an Indian author born to a
                                          orthodox Muslims protested against       censored and punished.
Muslim family—published The Satanic
Verses in Britain. The novel—a compli-    the publication of “blasphemy.” Some       Compromise between these two
cated fantasy set in London, Bombay,      Muslims condemned—and even died          viewpoints is difficult, if not impos-
an Indian village, and seventh-century    in riots over—works that they had not    sible.
Arabia—explores the consequences of       seen.
                                                                                     Reading The Rushdie File today
emigrating from one culture to another.                                            helps one understand the conflict
The novel also fictionalizes people,                                               over Jyllands-Posten’s cartoons of
places, and events in the Koran.          THE RUSHDIE FILE

                                                                                   Mohammed. Reading the book also
  Muslim politicians in India immedi-          N 1989, TWO AUTHORS IN              helps one see why similar disputes will
ately condemned The Satanic Verses             Britain—Lisa Appignanesi and        probably occur again. •
as obscene and blasphemous, and                Sara Maitland—published a
                                                                                   1 The Danish Muslims who toured the Middle East
the Indian government banned it                book called The Rushdie File.       compiled a 43-page booklet of Danish anti-Muslim
on October 5, 1988. In the ensuing             It is a collection of documents     images. The booklet contained cartoons that
                                                                                   Jyllands-Posten did not publish. See “Alienated
months, many countries with large         about the conflict over The Satanic      Danish Muslims Sought Help from Arabs,” Spiegel
Muslim populations (e.g., Egypt           Verses. The documents’ authors           Online English Site, February 1, 2006.

                                                                                                    FREEDOM TO READ 2007       | 21


Booksellers and Freedom to Read
             BY EMILY SINKINS               Have you ever chosen not to stock a         should be sandwiched in a bookshelf

                                            particular book based solely on the         and hidden from children’s eyes.”
                                            fact that it offends you or might offend      “I had one customer upset over Don
               in the power of the writ-
                                            some of your customers?                     Miguel Ruiz’s The Voice of Knowledge,
               ten word—its ability to
               educate, to inspire, to        “The Anarchist Cookbook. We won’t         but she wouldn’t explain what offend-
               persuade, and to provoke.    carry it or bring it in, but we will give   ed her. She just bought out my entire
Often, it will also offend, enrage, and     customers the publisher information so      stock of it! I hope all my offended cus-
insult. Bookstores exist to offer access    they can get it themselves.”                tomers act this way!”
to reading material, but when it comes        “There was a book about sex travel        Have you ever received a customer
to potentially offensive titles, where do   in Thailand that we all found quite         complaint about your failure to stock
booksellers draw the line?                  offensive.”                                 a particular title?
  The Canadian Booksellers                     “I will not stock or special order any      “We have had a couple of minor
Association (CBA), a national trade         illegal hard-drug manufacturing titles,     complaints that we didn’t carry any or
organization representing trade, cam-       although I have special ordered several     enough gay or feminist content books.
pus, chain, and specialty booksellers       pot-growing books.”                         ... [T]here doesn’t seem to be a lot of
from coast to coast, recently distrib-                                                  demand for those books in this town,
                                               “Books like David Hamilton’s attract
uted a survey to our members to find                                                    so we chose not to carry them for that
                                            customers we do not want to encour-
out how they react when faced with                                                      reason, not for [reasons of ] censor-
                                            age. We are concerned with the depic-
controversial works both at the order-                                                  ship.”
                                            tion of children and draw our line
ing stage and when challenged by            there.”                                        “I was personally insulted and
customers.                                                                              attacked, as was my then nine-year-old
                                               “We carry or will order almost any-
  Booksellers acknowledged that                                                         daughter, for not carrying Murder in
                                            thing that our customers are interested
catering to the interests and desires                                                   Canada. This is an extreme anti-abor-
                                            in. We may not promote these [books]
of their communities can sometimes                                                      tion book.”
                                            (i.e., make them highly visible), but
mean electing not to stock titles that                                                  Have you had shipments delayed,
                                            they can exist in our inventory.”
are likely to alienate them. In fact, 60                                                tampered with, or turned back at
                                            Have you ever received customer com-        the border because Canada Customs
per cent of booksellers admitted to
                                            plaints about your decision to carry a      deemed the material questionable?
not stocking a particular book solely
                                            certain title?
because it might offend some of their                                                     “A company called Morning Glory
customers. (Of that 60 per cent, the          “Madonna’s book Sex, any Paul             Press was frequently targeted for open-
majority said they did so very rarely.)     Bernardo books, the Koran, cookbooks        ing. It sold books on teen pregnancy.”
                                            with meat recipes, Lennart Nilsson’s
   More than half of the booksellers                                                      “It was long ago ... for some Palladin
                                            A Child Is Born (which presents both
that the CBA surveyed have received                                                     Press titles [about] anti-personnel
                                            sides of the choice/right-to-life argu-
customer complaints about certain                                                       weapons and combat material.”
titles. A bookseller from Cranbrook,                                                       “During the 1980s, I began dealing
British Columbia, had this succinct          “I was asked to remove a Karla             with Naiad Press in the United States
response: “This is a community book-        Homolka book out of the window.”            ... and, [because it is] predominantly
store to serve the community as a             “Most recently, a customer yelled         a lesbian publishing house, I did
whole—diversity in interests is respect-    at me for carrying Bitch in the House,      have some shipments stopped and
ed here.”                                   a book about the issues working             searched.” •
  Selected responses from the CBA’s         women/mothers deal with. She said           Emily Sinkins is the communications
Book Challenges Survey, which was           her young child should not have to see      manager of the Canadian Booksellers
distributed to 400 booksellers in           such filth on our shelves.”                 Association and the editor of
August 2006, follow.                          “On Bullshit. [A] customer felt it ...    Canadianbookseller.

22 | F R E E D O M   T O R E A D 2007
2006 AWARDS for Freedom
of Expression/Freedom to Read

     N OCTOBER 2006, PEN CANADA                                                                                    were assaulted while
     awarded the PEN Canada/Paul                                                                                   covering demon-
     Kidd Courage Prize to Kim                                                                                     strations against a
     Bolan. She is a journalist for The                                                                            referendum on consti-
     Vancouver Sun and the author                                                                                  tutional amendments.
of Loss of Faith: How the Air India                                                                                Female journalists
Bombers Got Away with Murder.                                                                                      were also sexually
  The award recognizes writers                                                                                     harassed.
and journalists who have displayed                                                                        CJFE also honoured
exceptional courage and integrity in                                                                   Hollman Morris of
the interest of free expression. Bolan                                                                 Colombia. He has
received the award for her investigation                                                               received numer-
of the Air India bombing of 1985.                                                                      ous threats such as
                                                                                                       funeral wreaths and
   “Kim Bolan has devoted much of
                                                                                                       letters of condolence
her career to the Air India affair, which
                                                                                                       delivered to his home.
is probably the biggest criminal story
                                                                                                       For uncovering atroci-
in Canada of the past 20 years,” the
                                                                                                       ties committed by all
award jury said. “She had the courage
                                                                                                       sides in Colombia’s

                                                                                                     GLENN BROWN
to continue to do important work under
                                                                                                       armed conflict, Morris
dangerous conditions.”
                                                                                                       was deliberately and
  Bolan’s investigation led her into                                                                   wrongfully accused of
British Columbia’s Sikh community, and      Hollman Morris and Abeer Al-Askary
                                                                                                       being a spokesman
her reporting prompted anonymous            names two winning journalists per         for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of
threats against her life.                   year, named three in 2006.                Colombia.
  “She was on a death list and, after         CJFE honoured Hayat Ullah Khan,           “This year’s winners come from
the assassination of Tara Singh Hayer,      a freelance journalist and photogra-      some of the toughest regions in which
she had every reason to believe the         pher who covered military conflicts in    to practise journalism,” said Carol
Sikh militants would not hesitate to        Pakistan’s tribal areas. He was abduct-   Off, chair of CJFE’s awards committee.
kill her, too,” the award jury said.1 “We   ed in December 2005; his dead body        “They are truly remarkable people,
don’t know how many other journalists       was found in North Waziristan in June     committed to speaking out and telling
would have had the guts to persevere.”      2006. Khan’s family in Pakistan will      the stories of the world’s most vulner-
   The PEN Canada/Paul Kidd Courage         receive $3,000 in award money; CJFE       able citizens.”
Prize is named after Paul Kidd, a           hopes the money will help them fight        Each winner received a $3,000 cash
Canadian journalist who died in 2002.       for justice in his case.                  prize.
He reported from more than 70 coun-            CJFE also honoured Abeer Al-Askary        In June 2006, the Canadian Library
tries, braving street violence, gun-        of Egypt. She has published investiga-    Association (CLA) bestowed its Award
fire, arrest, and threats from various      tive reports on corruption, election      for the Advancement of Intellectual
regimes.                                    fraud, and the torture of prisoners.      Freedom in Canada on June Callwood.
  In August 2006, Canadian Journalists      Because of her journalism, she has        Callwood is one of Canada’s most dis-
for Free Expression (CJFE) announced        been attacked by state security offi-     tinguished journalists, social activists,
the winners of its International Press      cers. On May 25, 2005, for example,       and free-speech advocates.
Freedom Awards. CJFE, which usually         Abeer Al-Askary and other journalists     CONTINUED ON PAGE 24

                                                                                                    FREEDOM TO READ 2007           | 23


  Callwood helped found more than 50
organizations that play a vital role in
Canadian life, including the Canadian
Civil Liberties Association, PEN
Canada, Feminists Against Censorship,
The Writers’ Union of Canada, the
Periodical Writers Association of
Canada, and the Electronic Rights
Licensing Agency.2
  “Long before they were safe or

                                                                                     DOANE GREGORY
fashionable, June Callwood was a
courageous and principled pioneer in

                                                                                                                                                            LISE VIENS
many social justice causes, especially
those involving children and women,”
said CLA President Barbara Clubb.          June Callwood                                             Charles Montpetit
“Her efforts have paved the way for        conflict with the commercial goals of                       In February 2006, the Calgary
others to follow.”                         the publisher.”                                           Freedom to Read Week Committee
  Callwood was also an early chair-          The award jury also noted another                       presented the Calgary Freedom of
woman of the Book and Periodical           meritorious nomination. The Hamilton                      Expression Award to Catherine Ford.
Development Council’s Freedom of           Spectator, which for the past year and                    The award was sponsored by Fast
Expression Committee. In 1995, she         a half had been at the forefront of the                   Forward, a weekly entertainment
chaired the Book and Periodical            battle to defend journalists’ right to                    journal.
Council.                                   protect their sources of information,                        Ford’s career as a journalist began
                                           was nominated by PEN Canada.                              when she joined the Calgary Herald in
  In May 2006, the National Press Club
of Canada honoured Dr. John Hoey             In February 2006, The Writers’ Union                    1964. She has been a commentator on
and Anne Marie Todkill with the World      of Canada (TWUC) announced that                           radio and television, and she has writ-
Press Freedom Award. Hoey and Todkill      writer and publisher Charles Montpetit                    ten articles for other newspapers and
are, respectively, the former editor and   of Montreal won the Freedom to Read                       magazines such as Chatelaine. She is
the former senior deputy editor of the     Award. Montpetit is a member of the                       the author of Against the Grain, pub-
Canadian Medical Association Journal.      Union des écrivaines et des écrivains                     lished by McClelland & Stewart in 2005.
                                           québécois and a past winner of the
  Hoey and Todkill were dismissed                                                                      Ford was a national columnist for
                                           Governor General’s Literary Award for
from their jobs in February 2006, six                                                                CanWest News Service and throughout
                                           children’s literature.
weeks after they revealed in an editori-                                                             her career she made a commitment to
                                             “Charles has worked tirelessly to
al that the publisher and the Canadian                                                               her readers: to speak honestly. In a col-
                                           help preserve the freedom to read and
Medical Association had suppressed                                                                   umn on censorship, she said: “All I’ve
                                           write in this country, most recently to
part of an investigative report on how                                                               got worth fighting for is the promise
                                           ensure that the controversial child-
pharmacists across Canada were dis-                                                                  that what you read is what I honestly
                                           porn bill passed by the last govern-
pensing emergency contraceptive pills.                                                               believe.” •
                                           ment contained adequate defences for
  The award jury noted one of the          legitimate writers,” said Brian Brett,                    Anne Jayne, Julie Payne, Spencer
principles espoused by the World           chair of the Writers’ Union.                              Moore, PEN Canada, The Writers’
Association of Medical Editors,              TWUC bestows its Freedom to                             Union of Canada, and the Canadian
of which the Canadian Medical              Read Award each year as part of                           Library Association supplied informa-
Association Journal is a member:           Freedom to Read Week in Canada.                           tion for this article.
“Editors should be free to express         Previous winners have included anti-                      1 Tara Singh Hayer, the publisher of the Indo-
critical but responsible views about       censorship activists Janine Fuller of                     Canadian Times, was shot to death in Surrey, British
                                                                                                     Columbia, in 1998.
all aspects of medicine without fear of    Little Sister’s bookstore in Vancouver                    2 The Periodical Writers Association of Canada is
retribution, even if these views might     and Toronto lawyer Clayton Ruby.                          now the Professional Writers Association of Canada.

24 | F R E E D O M   T O R E A D 2007
Seventy Years in the
        BY AIDAN JOHNSON                    countries find refuge as writers-in-resi-   Vancouver that caters to lesbians and

                                            dence at Canadian universities, librar-     gays—clashed in court over the gov-
                                            ies, and other community organizations      ernment’s seizure at the border of pur-
              organization of Canadian
                                            with an interest in literature and read-    portedly obscene publications import-
              writers and readers for
                                            ing.1 The network links writers to read-    ed by the bookstore. PEN Canada took
              free expression, marked its
                                            ers and Canada to the world.                an interest in the dispute: in 1994, Nino
              seventieth anniversary in
                                                                                        Ricci, PEN Canada’s president, testified
2006. Since its inception, PEN Canada
                                                                                        on behalf of Little Sister’s at the trial in
has encouraged freedom of literacy,         The National Archive                        Vancouver.
education, and thought by supporting
                                            PEN Canada also continues its work on         In 1996, the Supreme Court of British
writers facing oppression—be it tor-
                                            behalf of censored writers in Canada. In    Columbia ruled that Canada Customs’
ture, imprisonment, exile in a foreign
                                            fact, PEN Canada has set out to docu-       actions had violated both the equality
country, or censorship—from hostile
                                            ment this specifically Canadian work in     and free-speech rights of gays and les-
                                            its new National Archive.                   bians, although the court also upheld
   International PEN was founded in
                                               As PEN and other defenders of free       Canada Customs’ legal power to censor.
England in 1921 to foster literary com-
                                            expression in Canada plan strategy          Ricci said: “Canada is perhaps the only
munity and freedom of expression.
                                            for the future, they must know PEN’s        democratic country in the world that
Joseph Conrad and George Bernard
                                            history. They must be aware of PEN’s        lets its Customs officers choose what
Shaw numbered among PEN’s early
                                            past campaigns and public arguments         people will be allowed to read. Now
members. In 1947, the United Nations
                                            about some of the most controversial        that a court has ruled that, that has led
reviewed PEN Charter’s declaration of
                                            issues in Canadian politics. The new        to some pretty arbitrary and nonsensi-
free-speech and thought rights during
                                            archive will be valuable not only to        cal decisions. The next logical step is to
the drafting of the Universal Declaration
                                            PEN’s board, membership, and staff,         put the choice back where it belongs, in
of Human Rights. Today, there are 144
                                            but also to other Canadian civil-liber-     the hands of Canadian citizens.”
PEN Centres in 101 countries.
                                            ties activists and students interested        Ricci’s words echo Article 19 of the
                                            in Canada’s history of free speech and      Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
News                                           The archive will consist of PEN
                                                                                        “Everyone has the right to freedom
                                                                                        of opinion and expression; this right
In 2006, after a vigorous PEN               Canada’s legal briefings, policy docu-      includes freedom to hold opinions
campaign, the government of the             ments, and government communica-            without interference and to seek,
Islamic Republic of Iran released           tions. Case summaries will include          receive and impart information and
Ramin Jahanbegloo from prison.              detailed chronologies of events and         ideas through any media and regard-
Jahanbegloo—an Iranian-born philoso-        descriptions of PEN Canada’s respons-       less of frontiers.”2 Because of PEN, free
pher with Canadian citizenship—had          es. Paper documents will be converted       expression is defended and flourishes
been imprisoned for four months             into easy-to-access electronic files        here in Canada. •
in Tehran for, among other thought          and, in time, they will appear on PEN       Aidan Johnson is a PhD student in the
crimes, contradicting the Iranian presi-    Canada’s Web site.                                                  s
                                                                                        University of Chicago’ Human Rights
dent’s denial of the Holocaust in World
                                                                                        Program and a former Fulbright schol-
War II.
  In 2006, the Congress of
                                            A Highlight from the                        ar. He is completing a Human Rights
                                                                                        Program work period at PEN Canada.
International PEN also re-elected PEN       National Archive                            1 For more information on the Writers in Exile
Canada to the chair of the Writers in       Throughout the 1990s, Canada                Network, visit
                                                                                        2 The General Assembly of the United Nations
Exile Network. This network helps writ-     Customs and Little Sister’s Book            adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration
ers who are censored in their home          and Art Emporium—a bookstore in             of Human Rights on December 10, 1948.

                                                                                                        FREEDOM TO READ 2007       | 25
              P E R S P E C T I V E S

              REFLECTIONS on
              PRESS FREEDOM in 2006
                             BY JULIE PAYNE

                     AM WRITING THIS ARTICLE
                     on November 1, 2006—a day
                     when Canadian Journalists for
                     Free Expression (CJFE) holds
                     its International Press Freedom
              Awards. It’s a day when we celebrate
              and, in some cases, mourn journal-
              ists from all over the world who have
              shown great courage in doing their
                This year, our three award winners
              were Abeer Al-Askary, a determined
              young woman from Egypt who has
              been assaulted by the police for
              covering protests; Hollman Morris,
              who hosts the TV show Contravia in
              Colombia and who has received more
              death threats than he can count for
              telling the stories of marginalized        Hayat Ullah Khan (right) working on the construction of the school with a friend

              Colombians; and Hayat Ullah Khan, a        crime in Quebec), Guy-André Kieffer                         Canada in 16th place this year. This
              Pakistani journalist whose integrity and   (who disappeared while investigating                        rank isn’t terrible, but Bolivia—where
              uncompromising commitment to telling       corruption in Ivory Coast), and Zahra                       press freedom is increasing from
              the truth led to his death in June 2006.   Kazemi (who was tortured and killed in                      year to year—tied for 16th place with
                                                         a prison in Iran).                                          Canada. For Canadians, this rank
                                                                                                                     should be a stark reminder of how eas-
                                                           Now you have some idea of why we
                                                                                                                     ily these rights can be taken away.
                                                         are happy not to present the award!
                                                                                                                        We must pay attention. Every time a
                                                           This year, however, we did present                        judge demands that a journalist reveal
                                                         the Vox Libera Award which recognizes                       his or her sources, every time the gov-
                                                         a person’s sustained defence of free                        ernment withdraws a little further from

                                                         expression. Alan Borovoy, a Toronto                         media (and therefore from public) scru-
                                                         lawyer who has worked tirelessly at the                     tiny, every time university students are
                                                         Canadian Civil Liberties Association to                     refused the right to assemble, every
              Alan Borovoy
                                                         defend all of our civil rights, including                   time books and magazines are seized
                                                         freedom of expression, received the                         at our borders, we must pay attention
                CJFE didn’t give a Tara Singh Hayer
                                                         award.                                                      and speak out. Freedom of expression
              Award this year. This award, named
              after the murdered editor of the Indo-        After reading this far, you might have                   is far too precious—far too fundamen-
              Canadian Times, honours Canadian           the idea that although press freedom                        tal—to all our other rights. We must
              journalists who have been physically       is embattled in other countries, press                      remain vigilant. •
              attacked or murdered on the job. Past      freedom in Canada is doing fine. But                        Julie Payne is the manager of Canadian
              winners include Michel Auger (who          it’s not true. In its press freedom index,                  Journalists for Free Expression in
              was shot for investigating organized       Reporters Without Borders ranked                            Toronto.

              26 | F R E E D O M   T O R E A D 2007
There’s a CHILL in the AIR                                                                                   BY RON BROWN

OUT-AND-OUT CENSORSHIP is not the only issue to pose a problem for Canada’s
writers. Indeed, there are many issues that can have a “chilling” effect on
writing. Chill simply means there is a law or an implied threat that holds
the writers back from exercising their full freedom of expression.
The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC) has become concerned with three.
“Son of Sam” Laws                            Anti-SLAPP                                  possessing secretly obtained govern-
                                                                                         ment information about Maher Arar.3
In 1997, the federal government con-         Legislation                                 Many have argued that the wording of
sidered legislation that would have
                                             SLAPP is the acronym for                    the law is too broad and has a chilling
prevented convicted criminals from
                                             “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public           effect on the ability of a writer or jour-
earning royalty income by writing
                                             Participation.” It occurs when a govern-    nalist to obtain pertinent information
about their crimes. Royalties would
                                             ment, or a quasi-governmental body,         from confidential informants.4
have gone into a victims’ fund.1 That
bill died, but various provincial gov-       brings a libel action against the govern-     The Writers’ Union of Canada will
ernments have passed similar laws.           ment’s critics. California and other U.S.   continue to monitor these and other
Such laws exist in Ontario, Quebec,          states have enacted legislation to pro-     issues as they arise and to guarantee
and Manitoba. One such measure was           tect writers and other groups against       our writers’ freedom to write and criti-
recently passed in Alberta; another bill     such legal action, but this is not the      cize. Canada is cold enough as it is. We
in Nova Scotia died on the order paper.      case in Canada: a SLAPP lawsuit was         don’t need another “chill” in the air. •
   While many Canadians justifiably feel     brought by the Toronto Port Authority
that criminals such as Clifford Olson        against Community Air for comments          Ron Brown is the chair of the Rights
should never be allowed to profit from       that the group had made.                    and Freedoms Committee for The
their crimes, very few authors would           While some might feel that this issue     Writers’ Union of Canada.
likely come from the ranks of such           does not directly affect writers, TWUC
criminals.2 Indeed, many people in           has long been concerned about the           1 The bill, dubbed “Son of Sam legislation,” referred
the justice system recommend writing         effects of libel chill and has lobbied      to serial killer David Berkowitz. In 1977, Berkowitz
                                                                                         was convicted in New York for murdering six people.
as part of the rehabilitation process.       to have Ontario’s libel laws changed.       He called himself “Son of Sam.”—FC
First-person accounts of a crime or of a     While anti-SLAPP legislation would
                                                                                         2 In 1982, Clifford Olson pleaded guilty to the mur-
criminal’s life story can be beneficial to   not apply to individual litigants, it       der of eight girls and three boys in British Columbia.
understanding the evolution of a crimi-      would help to protect writers who wish      He was sentenced to life in prison.—FC

nal mind or action.                          to publish critical reviews of quasi-       3 In 2002, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
   “Son of Sam” laws have the effect         governmental groups. (A book on the         (RCMP) suspected Maher Arar—a Syrian-born
                                                                                         Canadian citizen—of having ties to al-Qaeda. On
of punishing a person twice for the          Toronto Port Authority, for example, is     September 26, 2002, while in an airport in New
same crime. Indeed, since the writing        not an unlikely prospect.)                  York, Arar was detained by U.S. authorities and
                                                                                         deported to Syria. In Syria, Arar was imprisoned for
of a book is not a crime, how could the                                                  more than a year and tortured.
royalty be a “proceed” from a crime? In
Alberta and Manitoba, even agents or
                                             The Terrorism Bill                          On November 8, 2003, O’Neill wrote a news story
                                                                                         in the Ottawa Citizen about the RCMP, Arar, and
                                                                                         the Syrians. On January 21, 2004, the RCMP raided
co-authors are required to turn royalty      Canada’s Security of Information Act        O’Neill’s home and office to discover the name of
income over to a “victims’” fund or face     makes the possession of information         the government employee who had supplied O’Neill
                                                                                         with information for her story.—FC
being charged with an offence.               related to terrorism, which the govern-
   The difficulty is that many of these      ment feels should be “secret,” a crimi-     4 On October 19, 2006, a court in Ontario struck
                                                                                         down three sections of the Security of Information
laws are introduced with little fanfare.     nal offence. No effort has been made to     Act as unconstitutional. The court also quashed the
The Alberta law went through three           define “secret,” and a proceeding has       warrants used by the RCMP to search O’Neill’s home
                                                                                         and office in 2004. On November 3, 2006, Minister
readings in the legislature before most      been launched against Ottawa Citizen        of Justice Vic Toews declared that he would not
writers became aware of the measure.         journalist Juliet O’Neill for allegedly     appeal the court’s ruling.—FC

                                                                                                           FREEDOM TO READ 2007         | 27

The Human Rights Police
          BY FRANKLIN CARTER                  Both publishers knew that Muslims         Three men complained to the

                                           regarded the cartoons as blasphe-          Saskatchewan Human Rights
              FEW DECADES AGO,
                                           mous. But the publishers reprinted the     Commission. In 2001, a tribunal ruled
              provincial govern-
                                           cartoons anyway because they helped        that the ad exposed gay people to
              ments passed human
                                           illustrate an important news story: the    hatred. The tribunal forbade Owens
              rights codes to protect
                                           violent Muslim protests taking place       and the newspaper from publishing
              Canadians from discrimi-
                                           around the world.                          the ad again, and ordered them to pay
nation in jobs and housing. Provincial
                                             Syed Soharwardy, an outraged             damages.
governments also created human rights
commissions to enforce the codes.          Muslim, complained to the Alberta            Claiming that his right to religious
                                           Human Rights and Citizenship               expression had been infringed, Owens
  In recent years, however, the com-
                                           Commission. He demanded an apol-           appealed. In 2002, a provincial court
missions have broadened human rights
                                           ogy from the publishers and a pledge       upheld the tribunal’s decision. But
offences to include “discriminatory
                                           that they won’t blaspheme again. The       Saskatchewan’s Court of Appeal over-
speech.” The commissions have arro-
                                           publishers are fighting to retain their    turned the ruling in 2006—nine years
gated the right to judge Canadians for
                                           editorial independence.                    after the ad ran.
the expression of unpopular opinions
and images.
  The commissions now pose a threat        2. A Public Letter                         4. Contrarian Columns
to freedom of the press in Canada.
                                           In 2002, Rev. Stephen Boissoin             In 1994, Doug Collins, a writer for
  To launch an inquiry, some commis-       published a letter in the Red Deer         Vancouver’s North Shore News, penned
sions need only to receive a complaint     Advocate. The letter, entitled             several opinion columns that offended
from a person who has been offended        “Homosexual Agenda Wicked,”                readers. Four articles offended Jews by
by something in print. If the commis-      accused gay activists of promoting         questioning the number of dead in the
sion decides that the complainant has      pedophilia in schools. Boissoin urged      Holocaust and by criticizing the pros-
been “exposed to hatred or contempt,”      heterosexuals to resist the gay “victim-   ecution of anti-Semites such as Ernst
the writer or publisher may be fined       ization” and “recruitment” of children.    Zundel.
and forced to apologize.
                                             Darren Lund, a gay teacher, filed a        In 1999, the B.C. Human Rights
  In Alberta, the complainant does not     complaint with Alberta’s human rights      Tribunal censured Collins and the
need to prove that the offending article   commission. Lund claimed that the let-     newspaper for perpetuating damaging
or image caused harm. The complain-        ter fostered anti-gay stereotypes and      stereotypes of Jews. The tribunal fined
ant does not even need to show that        encouraged an assault on a gay teen-       Collins and the newspaper $2,000, and
the publisher or writer intended to        ager in Red Deer.                          forbade them from publishing similar
incite hatred or contempt.                   In 2005, the commission decided to       opinions again.
  The following cases illustrate           hear the dispute. Boissoin could be          Collins said the ruling was “the big-
attempts by the commissions to police      punished for expressing an opinion         gest threat to press freedom to arise in
controversial expression in Canadian       rooted in his Christian faith.             many years.” He appealed, but he died
publications.                                                                         in 2001 before any court could hear
                                           3. A Newspaper Ad                            In free societies, people distinguish
1. Danish Cartoons                         In 1997, Hugh Owens placed an ad           between the right to express an opin-
In February 2006, two publications         for car bumper stickers in Saskatoon’s     ion and the opinion itself. The former
in Alberta reprinted several of the 12     StarPhoenix. The ad depicted two           should be inviolate; the latter may be
Danish cartoons about the Muslim           stick-men holding hands in a circle        criticized. The best response to offen-
prophet Mohammed. The Western              with a slash through it. The ad cited      sive expression is more and better
Standard reprinted eight; the Jewish       four Biblical passages that condemn        public criticism—not censure imposed
Free Press reprinted four.                 homosexuality.                             through human rights commissions. •

28 | F R E E D O M   T O R E A D 2007
FREEDOM TO READ 2007   | 29
G E T                I N V O L V E D

Ideas for Educators
THE GET INVOLVED SECTION IS DESIGNED TO                 guide to generating publicity for your Freedom
give teachers, librarians, retailers, and mem-          to Read Week event, from writing a noteworthy
bers of the public ideas to help raise awareness        press release to accommodating a camera crew.
of freedom of expression in Canada through              As always, the objectives of this section are to
in-class debates, special displays, and public          • highlight freedom of thought and freedom
events.                                                   of expression as universal human rights;
  The ideas and activities are aimed at high            • examine the educational value of
school, college, and university students and              controversial texts; and
would suit studies in politics, history, law, and       • emphasize tolerance of other people’s
languages and literature. Media and dramatic              viewpoints as a vital principle of democratic
arts courses will also find dynamic areas of dis-         education.
cussion and study in this section.                        We encourage you to use these tools and
  This year, the Get Involved section includes a        resources to Get Involved in your community.

    WEEK • LINKS TO OTHER            
    • AND MUCH MORE . . .

30 | F R E E D O M   T O R E A D 2007
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

                                             Marie Tempête: Le secret d’Emilie by
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz          P. Cothias and P. Wachs (Editions Glénat)
by Mordecai Richler                          In 2001, the city council of Hull,
                                             Quebec, resolved to “exclude all visual
Clins d’œil à Romain Gary by                 documents (movies, films, comic books,
Gabrielle Gourdeau                           magazines) that trivialize and/or con-
A Clockwork Orange by                        done acts of sexual aggression or sexual
Anthony Burgess                              violence” from public libraries. The city
                                             council—which had been lobbied for
Dance Me Outside by W.P. Kinsella            months by a woman who opposed
Deliverance by James Dickey                  depictions of sexual violence—also
                                             ordered its libraries to restrict access
Different Seasons by Stephen King            to 180 graphic novels. But Quebec’s
The Diviners by Margaret Laurence            writers and others campaigned for
                                             people’s freedom to read. The graphic
Le grand cahier by Agota Kristof             novels were returned to the open
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret              library shelves and, in 2002,
Atwood                                       Hull’s city council repealed
                                             the policy.
Lives of Girls and Women by Alice
Man Sitting in a Corridor by Marguerite
Duras                                     Greasy, Grimy, Gopher Guts: The                CHALLENGED YOUNG
                                          Subversive Folklore of Children by
Metallic Memories by Moebius (Jean
                                          Josepha Sherman and T.K.F. Weisskopf
                                                                                         ADULT AND CHILDREN’S
Giraud)                                                                                  BOOKS
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck         Lethal Marriage by Nick Pron

The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie      On Chapters From My Diary by Leon              The Adventures of Tintin: The Blue
                                          Trotsky                                        Lotus by Hergé
Tout Deschamps by Yvon Deschamps
                                          Outlaw Representation: Censorship              L’affaire du cachalot noir by Gervais
The Turner Diaries by William Pierce
                                          and Homosexuality in Twentieth                 Pomerleau
The Wars by Timothy Findley
                                          Century Art by Richard Meyer                   Ani Croche by Bertrand Gauthier
The Young in One Another’s Arms by
                                          Pornography: Men Possessing Women              Asha’s Mums by Rosamund Elwin and
Jane Rule
                                          and Woman Hating by Andrea Dworkin             Michele Paulse
                                          Scrambled Brains: A Cooking Guide              Baby Be-Bop by Francesca Lia Block
                                          for the Reality Impaired by Pierre             Black Like Kyra, White Like Me by
NON-FICTION                               LeBlanc and Robin Konstabaris                  Judith Vigna
Banksters and Prairie Boys by Monier      Sex by Madonna                                 Bumface by Morris Gleitzman
M. Rahall
                                          Suffer Little Children by Dereck O’Brien       Carcajou le glouton fripon by Basile
Black Looks: Race and Representation                                                     Awashish et al.
by bell hooks                             Under the Gun: Inside the Mohawk
                                          Civil War by Rick Hornung                      The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
By Way of Deception: A Devastating
                                          The Valour and the Horror by Merily            Le choix d’Ève by Reynald Cantin
Insider’s Portrait of the Mossad by
Claire Hoy and Victor Ostrovsky           Weisbord and Merilyn Simonds Mohr              Les colères de l’océan by Gervais
Courting Disaster by Malcolm J. Barker    Waging War From Canada by Mike
and T.C. Sobey                            Pearson                                        CONTINUED ON PAGE 32

                                                                                                       FREEDOM TO READ 2007   | 31
G E T                I N V O L V E D

         Maxine’s Tree by Diane Carmel Leger                                  Final Exit: The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance
         (Orca Book Publishers, 1990)                                         and Assisted Suicide for the Dying by Derek Humphry
         This children’s picture book features a five-year-old girl           (Hemlock Society, 1991)
         who tries to protect an old-growth rainforest on Vancouver           In 2005 during Freedom to Read Week, the Lethbridge
         Island from loggers. In 1992, an official of the International       Public Library in Alberta created a display of books that
         Woodworkers of America in Sechelt, British Columbia,                 had been challenged in North America. The inclusion
         asked the local school board to remove the book from                 of Final Exit in the display prompted a library patron
         elementary school libraries. He claimed that the book                to formally request the removal of the book from the
         indoctrinated children into accepting an extremist, anti-            library’s collection. The library’s board considered the
         logging viewpoint. The school board rejected his request.            request but decided to keep Final Exit.

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 31                             Hey, Dad! by Brian Doyle                     Outrageously Alice by Phyllis Reynolds
La complainte des huarts by Gervais                Hold Fast by Kevin Major                     Naylor
Pomerleau                                                                                       La première fois by Charles Montpetit
                                                   How Did I Begin? by Mick Manning and
La course à l’amour by Bertrand                    Brita Granstrom                              (ed.)
Gauthier                                                                                        Qu’est-ce que vous faites là? by
                                                   I Saw Esau by Iona and Peter Opie
Les envoûtements by Daniel Sernine                                                              Dominique Jolin
                                                   I’ll Always Love You by Hans Wilhelm
L’été des baleines by Michèle                                                                   Le secret d’Ève by Reynald Cantin
                                                   The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne
Marineau                                           Reid Banks                                   Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli
The First Time by Charles Montpetit                                                             Children Speak
                                                   J’ai besoin de personne by Reynald
(ed.)                                                                                           by Deborah Ellis
Foxfire by Joyce Carol Oates                                                                    Tison-Ardent by Gervais Pomerleau
                                                   Moonkid and Liberty by Paul Kropp
Goosebumps and Fear Street series by                                                            To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
                                                   Noah’s Cats and the Devil’s Fire by
R.L. Stine                                         Arielle North Olson                          Underground to Canada by Barbara
Harry Potter and the Chamber of                                                                 Smucker
                                                   Not the Only One: Gay and Lesbian
Secrets by J.K. Rowling                            Fiction for Teens                            The Waiting Dog by Carolyn and
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s                 by Tony Grime                                Andrea Beck
Stone by J.K. Rowling                              On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura          We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of                   Ingalls Wilder                               Who is Frances Rain? by Margaret
Azkaban by J.K. Rowling                            Ouch by Natalie Babbitt                      Buffie

32 | F R E E D O M   T O R E A D 2007

Organize an Essay Contest                                                                remove the Harry Potter books from
                                                                                         bookshelves in 16 states. Before that

During Freedom to Read Week                                                              book I never knew that reading was so
                                                                                         entertaining, and that was when I got
                                                                                         into books. If the Harry Potter series
Winning student essays from the Calgary Public Library                                   had been removed, I would never have
                                                                                         discovered the enjoyment of reading,
                                                                                         and that is why the freedom to read is
                                                                                         so important to me.

                                                                                         SECOND PRIZE ESSAY
                                                                                         “The Magic of Books”
                                                                                         By Sara (Grade 9)
                                                                                         EVERY DAY, MANY PEOPLE AROUND
                                                                                         the world are discovering a timeless
                                                                                         magic. This magic is not something
                                                                                         that can be found in any ordinary item
                                                                                         but in the wonderful literature that is
                                                                                         supplied. No matter what language
                                                                                         these ink words are formed in, they all
                                                                                         contain the same spellbinding experi-
                                                                                         ence that can only be discovered in
                                                                                         the heart of words. If even a little bit
                                                                                         of these miracles is taken away, then
FIRST PRIZE ESSAY                           motivation partly because people
                                                                                         we cannot fully experience the won-
                                            always have choices about the books
“Freedom to Read”                                                                        ders that each page holds because,
                                            they read. So if someone finds a book
By Evan (Grade 9)                                                                        “Reading is a basic tool in the living of
                                            offensive in any way they could simply
                                                                                         a good life.”1
I FIND THE LIBERTY OF READING               ignore it; I don’t see why it’s so impor-
extremely important to just about every     tant to confiscate the freedom to read.         With every word we read, we gain
book lover—in particular, people like                                                    knowledge and imagination that pre-
me. I consider reading as an essential        Freedom to read is not just impor-         pares us for a land of untold tales.
of my way of life, but there is always      tant to the readers; it is also vital to     There is no purpose to destroying
the issue of gaining the freedom to         the writers. When someone writes             books when they were written by
read. Yet I am one of the few that is       something they hope to bring someone         authors who wished to share a little
extremely fortunate considering the         else’s enjoyment, and by removing            piece of their mind and those “...
fact that Canada is indeed a free coun-     books they’re also putting the writers       who destroy a good book kills reason
try by world standards. Nevertheless,       in despair knowing their hard work           itself.”2 Agreed, some depictions may
the freedom to read is still constantly     has just been a waste of time. That is       be vulgar, inappropriate, and contain
under attack by individuals who wish        another reason why the freedom to            language that does not appeal to
to remove practical information from        read is important.                           other individuals; but was there not a
our shelves of knowledge. I think that         For some people, a book can               time when they also had their choice
we should make sure those individu-         change their life. For example, at first I   of books? If not, then they should not
als don’t get their satisfaction from the   despised reading, but that was before        limit the freedom of choice for other
despair of others by taking away our        I read Harry Potter. The book’s inter-       readers.
freedom to read.                            esting plot along with its fascinating         Everyone should have the decision to
  I think the individual who wants to       theme held my attention like a magnet,       read or not to read, and just because
take the freedom away has a lousy           yet there were still 26 challenges to        CONTINUED ON PAGE 34

                                                                                                       FREEDOM TO READ 2007   | 33
G E T                I N V O L V E D

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 33                    THIRD PRIZE ESSAY                                            One person cannot pos-
some individuals cannot accept these                                                                    sibly hope to learn what
                                          “Freedom to Read”
certain books, it doesn’t mean that                                                                     this world has to offer all
others shouldn’t explore these epics.
                                          By Jake (Grade 9)                                            by oneself. But we have
Stories expand the human mind more        THE WRITTEN WORD IS ONE                                  books to share knowledge
than anything learnt in a classroom—      of man’s greatest achieve-                            with us, so we do not have to
excluding reading itself—and they are     ments. It is how we record                          figure life out for ourselves, which
the life that brings out the world that   and communicate our                                would be impossible in our short
you never knew existed. Without them,     thoughts, ideas, and his-                         life spans. For instance, a scientist
not only I, but many of us would be       tory. Contained in a book                        in Japan may be researching how
left unsheltered with an uneasy feeling   can be the thoughts of a                        to fight a disease, and then publish
that such magic is wasted. For, “Books    great thinker or the acts of a                 his/her findings in a medical journal.
are the quietest and most constant of     civilization that no longer exists. From      A doctor in Canada could read this
friends: they are the most accessible     a book we can gain a new perspective          research and use it to cure one of his/
and wisest of counsellors, and the        or escape to a place far away.                her patients.
most patient of teachers.”3                 Those who want to restrict what can            In a library you can see the freez-
Quotations                                be put in public libraries are most likely    ing heights of the Himalayas and the
                                          trying to save young children’s minds         scorched sands of the Sahara, and
1 Mortimer J. Adler
                                          from some “evil” they should not be           listen to the thoughts of people from
2 John Milton
                                          seeing or thinking. The fact is that you      both lands, without leaving the room.
3 Charles W. Eliot
                                          can’t shelter people from the world and       Would it be fair to take out the book
Reference                                 what’s in it. No one should be allowed        on the people of the Sahara because
Logan, Deb. Quotations about              to decide what we can learn. Ignorance        someone deems their history too vio-
Libraries, Books, and Reading!            won’t save anyone from making the             lent? The world is round as we now         wrong choices; only by educating your-        know. A sphere is impossible to see
(accessed January 29, 2006).              self can you know what is right.              from one side.

     BOOKCROSSING                                                                      and print one from our Web site at
     SPREAD THE WORD about
     challenged and banned                                                             3. Go to
                                                                                       and follow the directions to register
     books in Canada! The                                                              the book.
     Freedom of Expression
                                                                                       4. After you’ve tagged and regis-
     Committee invites you to                                                          tered the book, release it into your
     find a title you care about                                                       community for someone else to
     from our list of challenged                                                       read. You can leave it on a bench, in
     literature and release the                                                        a café, on public transit, or even in
                                                                                       a bathroom stall.
     book into your community
                                                                                       5. Log on to BookCrossing’s Web
     through BookCrossing’s Web
                                                                                       site often to see who finds your
     site at www.BookCrossing.                                                         book, what they think, and where
     com.                                  Magazines.” (See page 31.) You              they release it next.
     Here’s how it works:                  may also purchase a book for this           BookCrossing’s goal is “to turn the
     1. Find a title from your book-       project.                                    whole world into a library.” During
     shelf that appears on our list        2. Tag the book with a special Book-        this year’s Freedom to Read Week,
     of “Challenged Books and              Crossing label. You can download            make it your goal, too!

34 | F R E E D O M   T O R E A D 2007
                 Freedom to Read Week Photo Competition:
                 Your Chance to Be a Shutterbug!
                 Freedom to Read Week (FTRW) is about choice.
                 It’s about choosing to be intellectually free and
                 never forgetting how important your freedom to
                 read is. It’s about celebrating that freedom.
                   This contest provides you with an opportunity to visually
                 capture our freedom to read. Photograph challenged books,
                 FTRW events, the FTRW poster, or anything that promotes the
                 written word. You can download the challenged books list or
                 a list of events in your community at
                 Show us how your community celebrates its freedom to read!
                 Eligibility: The FTRW photo competition is open to all ama-
                 teur and professional photographers.
                 Entry Details: A maximum of five entries will be accepted per
                 Digital Images: Images must be 800 by 600 pixels at 72 dpi.
                 Please keep your file sizes down to no more than 800–900
                 kilobytes per image. Competition winners will be contacted if
                 higher resolution images are required for publication.
                 Prizes: Enter to win one of our great prizes!
                 1st Place: $100!
                 2nd Place: Three challenged books!

                                                                                                                                                  RANKEN SHIMAZAKI
                 3rd Place: A Freedom to Read survival pack with poster and
                 annual review!

                                                                                 The Giver Is Taken (1st Prize, 2006)

                                                                                 any breach of copyright. The photographer retains ownership
                                                                                 of all submitted images. Images entered must not have been
                                                                                 digitally altered in any way other than necessary burning,
                                                                                 dodging, and cropping.
                                                                                 Return of Images: Images will be returned only if entered

                                                                                 with a self-addressed envelope with sufficient postage.
                                                                                 Publication: Submission of an entry constitutes agreement
                                                                                 to allow photographs to be reproduced, published, and/or
                                                                                 exhibited only for promotional purposes of the Freedom of
                 Pet Habit (2nd Prize, 2006)
                                                                                 Expression Committee’s Freedom to Read Week.
                 Identification: Each image must be labelled with the photog-    Judges: The winning entries will be selected by a panel of
                 rapher’s name, address, and telephone number. Each image        judges. The photos will be judged according to their originali-
                 must include its title and location.                            ty and their pertinence to the spirit of Freedom to Read Week.
                 Ownership: Entrants must own all rights to the works sub-       All decisions by the judges are final.
                 mitted. Model releases are the entrant’s responsibility and     Deadline: March 31, 2007
                 must be provided to the Freedom of Expression Committee         Entry Fee: Free!
                 if requested. Entrants shall indemnify the Freedom of           Contact: Adrian Galwin at (416) 975-9366 or
                 Expression Committee for any loss or damage arising from

                                                                                                                        FREEDOM TO READ 2007   | 35
G E T                I N V O L V E D


Write a Killer Press Release and Get Publicity!
So, you’ve organized a fan-                 ties, etc. If celebrities or politicians are   etc. Have these materials well-mounted
                                            going to be present, mention them here.        and displayed. If you’ll have celebrity
tastic Freedom to Read Week
                                                                                           guests, have them available for on-
activity. But how can you make              THE THIRD PARAGRAPH might elabo-
                                                                                           camera interviews.
sure it gets media attention?               rate on the importance of freedom of
                                                                                           Preparing for radio and print coverage
                                            expression and how your event sup-
Writing a press release is the              ports it. If there have been recent book
                                                                                           of your event will be less complicated
logical place to start, but you             or magazine challenges in your com-
                                                                                           than preparing for television shows,
need to target your message                                                                but make sure to have potential
                                            munity, refer to them here.
                                                                                           interview subjects available when the
and your audience carefully to              THE FINAL PARAGRAPH lists the                  reporters will be around. If you know
have a chance at generating                 contact information with your group’s          in advance when a newsworthy guest
press interest and coverage.                name, phone number, and e-mail                 will arrive, tell the reporter or producer
                                            address set in boldface type.                  when you make your follow-up phone
Follow these basic rules:
                                            Your press release is ready. Now what?         call.
                                                                                           THINK LIKE A PRODUCER. Reporters
PAGE. In the top left corner, type “FOR     FIND YOUR AUDIENCE. Don’t send
                                                                                           from television or radio programs might
IMMEDIATE RELEASE.” On the next             press releases “to whom it may con-
                                                                                           not be able to come to your event, but
line, centre the headline in 14-point       cern.” Get the name of the relevant
                                                                                           they might still promote your event
type. Centre the sub-headline on the        writer, producer, news director, or
                                                                                           beforehand in a studio interview. To
line below. Use boldface type on both       editor, and send your press release
                                                                                           generate public awareness, suggest a
headlines.                                  directly to his or her attention. Follow
                                                                                           panel discussion on freedom of expres-
THE FIRST PARAGRAPH opens with the          up with the person a day or two before
                                                                                           sion. Suggest guests and discussion
release date in brackets. The rest of the   the event by making a telephone call
                                                                                           points to the producer, emphasizing
paragraph declares when Freedom to          and by re-sending the release.
                                                                                           the potentially wide-ranging nature of
Read Week will happen, who sponsors         THINK IN THE MEDIUM. If you’re ask-            the topic—from the arts to technology
the Week and why, and that the Week         ing for television coverage of your            to politics to parenting.
is nationwide. This paragraph mentions      event, think about what a camera crew          ON THE DAY OF THE EVENT, set your
your event, date, and location.             will shoot. Television needs pictures,         VCR to tape the television segment.
THE SECOND PARAGRAPH provides               not just interviews. Potential shots           Save your press clippings too. You’ll
more information about your event, its      could include book jackets, event post-        want to review the coverage before
participants, special or unusual activi-    ers, Freedom to Read Week posters,             next year’s event!

             WEEK 2007
                                                                  FIND OUT WHAT’S HAPPENING OR LET
                                                                  US KNOW WHAT YOUR COMMUNITY IS
                                                                  DOING BY VISITING THE EVENTS PAGE
                                                                  OF OUR WEB SITE AT

36 | F R E E D O M   T O R E A D 2007

Organize In-Class Debates!
Make a controversy come                    keep To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper       ask a basic question: will reading a
                                           Lee out of classrooms because, they        book with profanity encourage kids to
alive for your students and
                                           claimed, the book’s use of the word        swear?
help them expand their under-              “nigger” promoted racism and endan-        • If people want to remove an “objec-
standing of freedom of expres-             gered black students’ self-esteem.         tionable” or “offensive” book in the
sion by organizing an in-class             Create two teams to debate the motion.     school library (e.g., R.L. Stine’s horror
debate. Go to page 31 for a list           One team should support it, and the        novels, Deborah Ellis’s Three Wishes
                                           other team should challenge it. Make       or Joyce Carol Oates’s Foxfire) in the
of challenged books and to
                                           sure that both sides back up their argu-   name of protecting children, should
the resources section at www.              ments with quotations from the text.       the challengers’ views be supported? to aid your               • Many objections to books are based       And here’s a question for students to
research and book selection.               on the author’s use of profanity in the    ponder: what’s wrong with wanting to
                                           text. For your next in-class debate,       protect children?
  While the sample topics listed
below are aimed at an older audience,
younger kids can enter the fray too!          ACTIVITY
Many kids already have a basic under-
standing of censorship—even Arthur,
                                           Display Challenged Books!
                                           • Put copies of banned and challenged
                                           books on a shelf, and seal off the shelf
                                           with yellow “Caution” tape.

                                           • Create a display within the stacks
                                           of your library or bookstore by mak-
                                           ing shelf-talkers or visible bookmarks
                                           for banned or challenged books in
                                           your collection. Use a stop-sign tem-
                                           plate with “STOP! This book has been
                                           banned or challenged” printed on it.

the popular children’s animated series,    • Cover a section of wall with wallpaper
                                                                                                                                       CHERYL BROWN
addressed book-banning in the epi-         made from enlarged photocopies of
sode “Arthur and the Scare-Your-Pants-     pages from challenged books. Make
Off Club.” The challenged books list in    the copies legal or poster size, and
this guide and on the Freedom to Read      black out words and phrases.
                                                                                      Somebody Else’s World (3rd prize, 2006)
Web site have lists of children’s books,
                                           • Put coloured pushpins into a map of      jar, and seal the lid. Put a poison label
including picture books, that have
                                           the world, showing countries where         on the front of the jar, and place it near
faced censorship.
                                           authors have been jailed for their         the check-out desk or cash register.
  Here are some ideas to get you           books. Arrange photographs and biog-
                                           raphies of the authors around the map,     • Beside any display, leave a stack of
                                           and connect each photo to its appropri-    pre-addressed postcards and contact
• Research book challenge cases and                                                   information for appropriate govern-
                                           ate pin with coloured string.
recreate them in the classroom. For                                                   ment ministers (education, foreign
example, in 2002 parents and teachers      • Put challenged books (paperbacks         affairs, etc.) to draw attention to the
in Nova Scotia instigated a motion to      would work best) into a large-mouthed      importance of freedom of expression.

                                                                                                       FREEDOM TO READ 2007     | 37
G E T                I N V O L V E D


Host a Reading Marathon!
A reading marathon draws                                                                 ning or several books over a 24-hour
attention to the issue of liter-
ary freedom and energizes                                                                  Send out a press release a week
                                                                                         before the marathon, as well as a
democratic debate and discus-
                                                                                         reminder the day before, to generate
sion. Readers get the chance                                                             media interest. Include in the release
to judge controversial books                                                             the titles of the books you’ve chosen,
for themselves without the                                                               a brief history of their challenges, and
censor’s filter.                                                                         the list of guest readers. (See “Write a
                                                                                         Killer Press Release and Get Publicity!”
   To organize your own marathon,
                                                                                         on page 36.) Send releases to the
find a venue that will allow you and
                                                                                         English, communications, drama, and
an audience to “camp out” for the
                                                                                         political science departments at local
required amount of time (e.g., from
                                                                                         high schools and colleges.
an evening to 24 hours). You can
approach bookstores, theatres, cafés,                                                       You can also contact the Manitoba
nightclubs, or even comedy clubs to                                                      Writers’ Guild at
provide a location. If your marathon                                                     for a free Six Weeks to a Reading
                                            to read such as Alice Munro’s Lives of
is going to last 24 hours, plan to feed                                                  Marathon kit. The kit provides addi-
                                            Girls and Women, Kevin Major’s Hold
both your readers and the audience! A                                                    tional tips for a successful event.
                                            Fast, Joyce Carol Oates’s Foxfire, or J.D.
club or café might be willing to keep its   Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. Invite           Talking about freedom of expression
kitchen staffed for the duration of the     local politicians, actors, musicians,        is one thing, but reading a banned
marathon.                                   activists, authors, and journalists to       or challenged book in its entirety,
  Choose compelling and well-known          read chapters. You can choose to read        in public, is a completely different
books with long histories of challenges     one book over the course of the eve-         experience.


Organize a Public Debate!
Open debate is one of the                   past and find appropri-                                            their closing
                                            ate people to debate.                                                 remarks.
hallmarks—and safeguards—
                                            (See the list of
of democratic society. Do your              “Challenged Books
                                                                                                                      The keys
part by organizing a debate                                                                                      to the debate’s
                                            and Magazines” on
                                                                                                               success are a
about a challenged book and                 page 31 for ideas.)
                                                                                                             strong moderator
get people talking!                           Set an agenda for the debate. First,                         who can keep the
  If a book is being challenged in          allow the challenger to make an                              discussion lively but
your community, approach the people         opening statement and read                                 respectful, a dependable
making the challenge. Offer them the        contentious passages. Next, the book’s       public address system with sufficient
chance to present their reasons and         defender makes a statement to                microphones, and a space with good
debate the opposing position. If there’s    support the book. After both sides have      acoustics. Be sure to publicize the
no book being challenged, research a        made their statements, they may refute       debate, and make it a part of Freedom
book that has been challenged in the        each other’s claims and then present         to Read Week in your community.

38 | F R E E D O M   T O R E A D 2007
The Internet                                                        writers around the world who are per-
                                                                    secuted for the peaceful expression

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED in learning more about
                                                                    of their thoughts. Visit this Web
                                                                    site for information about action
                                                                    campaigns, upcoming events,
                                                                    and profiles of members of the
censorship and free expression, here are some
                                                                    Writers in Exile program.
Web sites to get you started.
                                                                    Reporters Without Borders
Universal Declaration of Human Rights                               This international organization                              works to restore people’s right to
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms                             be informed in countries where there                               is no press freedom. The Web site, which
Canada Customs Memorandum on Obscenity (D9-1-1)                     is updated several times daily, keeps track of attacks on press            freedom as they occur and serves as a forum where journalists
Canada Customs Memorandum on Hate Propaganda, Treason,              who have been silenced may voice their opinions.
and Sedition (D9-1-15)                                              Union des écrivaines et des écrivains québécois d9-1-15/d9-1-15-e.html
FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION ACTIVISTS                                     L’Union des écrivaines et des écrivains québécois est un
                                                                    organisme sans but lucratif, une association professionnelle
Article 19: The Global Campaign for Free Expression
                                                                    et un syndicat. Le document ‹‹Liberté d’expression›› trace un
                                                                    portrait de la censure au Canada et explique quoi faire dans
Named after Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human
                                                                    un cas de censure.
Rights, this organization campaigns for free expression by moni-
toring and protesting against censorship wherever it occurs.        GOOD SOURCES OF INFORMATION
The Web site features information about major free expression
cases, papers about free expression standards, and useful tips      American Library Association
on getting involved.                                      
Book and Periodical Council’s Freedom of Expression
                                                                    This Web site provides information about Banned Books Week
                                                                    in America. The site features links to the ALA’s most challenged
                                                                    books list and provides extensive information on celebrating
The Book and Periodical Council (BPC), which represents
                                                                    freedom to read throughout the United States.
Canadian professional associations in the book and magazine
industries, formed its Freedom of Expression Committee in 1978      International Freedom of Expression Exchange
to resist attempts to ban classic Canadian novels. On this Web
site, you will find information about censorship in Canada and      IFEX is a clearing house for news about the activities of free
resources for organizing your own Freedom to Read Week event.       expression groups around the world. Its Action Alert Network
Canadian Civil Liberties Association                                co-ordinates and circulates news of attacks on free expression.                                                 Through outreach and development, IFEX supports fledgling
The CCLA is a private non-profit organization that defends the      free expression groups in developing countries, and IFEX’s
civil liberties and human rights of people who live in Canada. On   weekly e-mail communiqué keeps subscribers informed about
this Web site, you will find information about the CCLA’s efforts   global censorship.
to protect Canadians’ freedoms through law reform and informa-      kidSPEAK
tion about membership in the CCLA.                        
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression                            This Web site started after various groups tried to ban Harry                                                 Potter novels but soon broadened its content to include other
CJFE is a non-governmental organization supported by Canadian       free expression issues that affect youth. kidSPEAK is not useful
journalists and advocates of free expression. The organization      for Canadian youth who want to understand their rights under
defends the rights of journalists and helps develop media           the law—the Web site is American and U.S. laws are different—
freedom throughout the world.                                       but is an excellent source for free expression news and informa-
PEN Canada                                                          tion aimed at a young audience.                                             Visit the BPC’s Web site,, for a more
PEN (Poets, Essayists, and Novelists) Canada campaigns for          extensive list of freedom of expression resources on the Internet.

                                                                                                          FREEDOM TO READ 2007   | 39
           THANKS TO ALL who participated in Freedom to Read Week 2006 by
            hosting an event or creating a display at the following locations:

The All’s Well Mixture at Fair Trade          Manitoba Writers’ Guild and McNally
Country Café (Truro, NS) Readings by          Robinson Booksellers (Winnipeg, MB)
Dr. N. Kilbey, R. Gariepy, C. Hingley,        24-hour Freedom to Read Marathon
and C. Norman                                 McNally Robinson Booksellers
Buchanan Library at Lethbridge                (Calgary, AB) Reading and signing of
Community College (Lethbridge, AB)            The Sledding Hill, and speech on free
                                              expression by Chris Crutcher
                                                                                                MEMBERS 2006–07
Display of banned and challenged books
from the library’s collection                                                                       Access Copyright
                                              McNally Robinson Booksellers
                                                                                              Association of Canadian Book
Calgary Freedom to Read Committee             (Calgary, AB) 24-hour Freedom to Read                    Wholesalers
and Writers’ Guild of Alberta (Calgary,       Marathon
                                                                                          Association of Canadian Publishers
AB) Presentation of the official book of      Pembroke Public Library (Pembroke,             Canadian Book Manufacturers’
Freedom to Read Week to Calgary’s             ON) Freedom to Watch film festival                       Association
city council
                                              PEN Canada and the Toronto Public            Canadian Booksellers Association
Calgary Public Library (Calgary, AB)          Library at the Toronto Reference Library        Canadian Library Association
Freedom to Read essay contest for             (Toronto, ON) Interviews with exiled            Canadian Publishers’ Council
Grades 7–9                                    writers from Asia                          Canadian Science Writers’ Association
Canadian Children’s Book Centre               Quinte Writers’ Guild and Belleville           Editors’ Association of Canada
(Toronto, ON) Sex, Lies, and Children’s       Public Library (Belleville, ON) Speeches          League of Canadian Poets
Books                                         on self-censorship by Richard Grove and        Literary Press Group of Canada
Canadian Journalists for Free                 R.D. Roy
                                                                                                    Magazines Canada
Expression (Toronto, ON) Music and            Red Deer College Library (Red Deer, AB)       Periodical Marketers of Canada
dance party featuring Carole MacNeil,         Freedom to Read Week contest                     Playwrights Guild of Canada
co-host of CBC News: Sunday
                                              Red Deer College Library and Red Deer         Professional Writers Association
CJSR Radio FM 88 at the University of         and District Museum (Red Deer, AB)                        of Canada
Alberta (Edmonton, AB) Interview with         Panel discussion on censorship, and dis-        The Writers’ Union of Canada
Dr. Antonia Samek about librarians and        play of challenged and banned books
the freedom to read                                                                      ASSOCIATE MEMBERS 2006–07
                                              Red Deer Public Library (Red Deer, AB)
                                                                                           Association of Book Publishers of
Edmonton Public Library (The Banned           Display of challenged and banned books
                                                                                                    British Columbia
Books Café) and The Teen Advisory             Southern Alberta Council on Public                 Association of Manitoba
Board at Stanley A. Milner Library,           Affairs and Lethbridge Public Library                 Book Publishers
Centre for Reading and the Arts               (Lethbridge, AB) Discussion with Dr. B.          Book Publishers Association
(Edmonton, AB) Debates and putting            MacKay, Dr. J. von Heyking, and Dr. T.                    of Alberta
books on trial                                Robinson on Denmark’s cartoons of the       British Columbia Library Association
Faculty of Media and Information              Muslim prophet Mohammed
                                                                                           Canadian Children’s Book Centre
Studies at the University of Western          University of British Columbia                  Canadian Copyright Institute
Ontario (London, ON) Reading Out Loud!        Bookstore at Robson Square                       Manitoba Writers’ Guild Inc.
readings and discussion                       (Vancouver, BC) Robson Reading Series
                                                                                               Ontario Library Association
Geist and the Vancouver Public Library        with writers Aaron Bushkowsky and
                                              Linda Rogers                                  Organization of Book Publishers
(Vancouver, BC) Take Back the Page                                                                      of Ontario
panel discussion with Janine Fuller of        University of Guelph at McLaughlin               The Writers’ Trust of Canada
Little Sister’s, author Dan Gawthrop,         Library (Guelph, ON) Discussions,
journalist Norbert Rubessat, and Sarah        display, on-line resources, and movie             AFFILIATES 2006–07
Leavitt                                       screenings                                     Disticor Magazine Distribution
Global Importune Inc. and London              University of Lethbridge and                              Services
Central Library (London, ON) Readings         Lethbridge Public Library (Lethbridge,       Fraser Direct Distribution Services
and lectures on and by persecuted             AB) Lectures by Ken Nicol and Trudy        Georgetown Terminal Warehouses Ltd.
writers                                       Govier, and exhibition of banned books                Pal Benefits Inc.
Lumby United Church (Lumby, BC)               University of Manitoba and University              Sameday Right-O-Way
Freedom to Read Used Book Sale and            Libraries (Winnipeg, MB) 24-hour                   Universal Logistics Inc.
photo contest                                 Freedom to Read Marathon

40 | F R E E D O M   T O R E A D 2007

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