Globe Calls for Repeal of Human Rights Thought Control Laws
Dear Free Speech Supporter:
proponents of thought control in
Today, the Globe and Mail (August 9, 2008) weighed in and again demanded that legislation silencing words, not discriminatory actions, should be repealed.
CANADIAN ASSOCIATION FOR FREE EXPRESSION
August 9, 2008
The dismissal of a human-rights complaint by a Muslim group against the Western Standard magazine is a good development in the series of such proceedings across the country. Even so, human-rights commissions should not be in a position to pass judgment on whether media reports and commentary are "likely to expose a class of persons to hatred or contempt," as the Alberta statute in question puts it, much as its several equivalents do elsewhere in Canada.
Controversy over the role of Islam in world politics is looming over the age-old debate on freedom of speech and its limits. In this case, the Western Standard had republished the Danish cartoons of 2005 depicting the Prophet Mohammed as a symbol of militant Islamism.
complaint was made in May, 2006, and dragged on far too long. But
The Alberta Human Rights Commission's investigator, who recommended against sending the complaint on to a panel for a hearing, took into account that admonition, observing that the Danish cartoons were newsworthy and a matter of public concern, and that the Western Standard had published them with commentary, and then showed some balance by publishing letters of varied opinions on this subject.
considerations are healthy, since other human-rights statutes in
In the end, though, human-rights commissions should advise their respective legislatures to repeal these dangerously vague sections, so that those who exercise the freedom of speech and press are no longer harassed by such complaints.