Monday, November 24, 2008

Will The National Post Do The Right Thing And Join A National Press Council?

Jonathon Kay writes:

Will the government now do the right thing and get the CHRC out of the censorship business?

Richard Moon's report recommends repealing or, if not repealing, amending section 13 of the CHRA. It also recommends , in the case of repeal, revitalized press councils to deal with remarks appearing in the MSM which are "unfair or discriminatory" while not reaching the level of hate-speech. It would grant these press councils special powers:

To advance this end, all major print publications should belong to a provincial or regional press council that has the authority to receive a complaint that the publication has depicted an identifiable group in an unfair or discriminatory manner and, if it decides that the complaint is well-founded, to order the publication to print its decision.89 A decision by the council that its code of conduct has been breached results not in censorship but in "more speech" – the publication of a statement that the newspaper breached the code and, more particularly in this context, that it published material that unfairly represented the members of an identifiable group.

If the major publications in the country are not all willing to join a press council, then the establishment of a national press council with statutory authority and compulsory membership should once again be given serious consideration. A newspaper is not simply a private participant in public discourse; it is an important part of the public sphere where discussion about the affairs of the community takes place. As such, it carries a responsibility not to defame or stereotype identifiable groups within the Canadian community.90

Note that in, for example, the Macleans case, had Dr. Moon's recommendations been law Macleans may well have been ordered to print a decision finding Mark Steyn's article to be discriminatory. But this is exactly the point--editorial control-- over which Maclean's claims to have fought the HRC complaint against them. In other words, where they "won" their HRT case, they might well have "lost" a press council case and been forced to forgo editorial control anyway.

So the report does not just call for the repeal of section 13. As far as I can tell, it calls for a redistribution of some of the penalties the CHRC is allowed to impose in section 13 cases to other bodies, which would then be able to dole out punishment in situations where, were a complaint brought under section 13, that case would have been dismissed.

Once the Speechies get passed the news release, some of their enthusiasm will wane.

More on this later, obviously. Fascinating stuff.

Update: the waning process has already begun.

19 comments:

KC said...

Sooo assuming loser bloggers in their parents' basements wont be expected to join "press councils", does that make Moon a dupe of the neo-nazi as well?

bigcitylib said...

KC,

that's an interesting point. This seems to make things actually more of a pain for the MSM, but less of a pain for bloggers with no readership. However, what would happen to something like Ezra's blog or SDA or even a small circ mag like Catholic Insight?

Omar Ha-Redeye said...

KC,I see you make the rounds on the blogs.

Note that mandatory press councils is what the complainants in this case were asking for all along. Not really a complete failure on their part at all.

It's easy to ignore the "loser bloggers." Quite a different matter to have Canada's only news magazine publishing factually distorted and inflammatory material likely to result in discrimination and hate crimes.

Ti-Guy said...

Looks to me, overall (although I just skimmed the report), like a push to put oversight in the hands of the private sector.

Sure...that'll work.

I believe in leaving individual bloggers with no audience alone. The problem is that our lazy media started using their clout and audience share to draw attention to these moral and intellectual degenerates and serial liars. In fact, our lazy journalists use them for research.

Scott Tribe said...

Omar: This is KC's pet peeve, if you hadn't guessed, and he saves most of his venom in particular against his fellow Liberal cohorts, particularly the bloggers who for the most part support Section 13 of the HSRC (He also is a former Liberal blogger, ironically).

Scott Tribe said...

Update: I'm sure KC will be peeved to hear that a "real court" upheld a CHRC ruling against neo-Nazi Terry Tremaine.

H/T Dawg's Blawg

Ti-Guy said...

KC's real issue is that he hates religion and wants the absolute freedom to direct hatred against religious people, rather than do the harder work required to examine where the limits have to be established between religious beliefs and public policy.

Scott Tribe said...

Ti-Guy:

I don't know about that part. I've never seen a screed from KC about religion in general. As I said, he's a Liberal, and in all other things besides the free speech issue... he isn't a far right winger.

The Mound of Sound said...

To answer your initial question, of course not. The NPC is for journalists and news organizations. What could that possibly have to do with the National Spot?

Fred said...

So the Grievance & Hurt Feelings Industry in Canada has just been swacked in a drive by Mooning.

How cool is that - Woo Hoo

How does it smell ?

Wonder where all those grievance lawyers will scam their billing hours from now ?

Guess we don't need those thousands of Swivel Servants toiling in the bowels of the CHRC offices across the land - that should save $$Millions. The Feds can use that money to pay all those Canadians for the pain and suffering they suffered at the hands of these Kangaroo Courts.

Nothing like a full moon rising.

KC said...
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KC said...

BCL - Well Im sure Kate and Ezra both have such delusions of grandeur that they would agree with you.

I read the Moon report and always entertain contrary arguments, but in terms of its conclusions I am mindful of the authors previously revealed views on the subject. He has always been inclined towards state intervention in the media.

Omar - Good luck with getting Harper to introduce mandatory press councils with power to make binding orders.

I'd note that several of the things Moon suggests if parliament opts not to repeal s. 13 are some of the concerns I've had about process i.e. beefing up the standard, and introducing an intent requirement.

Ti-Guy - No Im not in favour of "absolute freedom" to direct hatred against religious people. I think religion is a ridiculous basis for a belief system, but I've said repeatedly that I support retention of the criminal code hate speech provisions. I've always been of the view that calling for death to Jews or internment of Muslims should be illegal. My beef with HRCs is largely a matter or process and standard than of substance.

But since you mention it I DO think there needs to be more nuance in how hate speech protections are applied to religion as opposed to race and gender. People throw around the term "anti-semitism" and "Islamophobia" so often a lot of the grey has faded to black.

Sociological discussions--even if conducted with an imperfect knowledge base--about the role religion and particular religious groups play in shaping our society and our laws are legitimate exercises of free speech. I'm no Christian and am not trying to play the Christian victim card here but NO ONE runs off the a Human Rights Commission when someone writes about how Charles McVety and his goons want to remake Canada as a 'Christian country'. The same standard should be applied to non-Christian religions.

Hate speech laws also should not be used as a backdoor for blasphemy laws (as was attempted in the Levant case). Prohibitions against insulting prophets have no place in a liberal society and I will have none of it. Possibly made up people with no real spiritual insight are not entitled to protection by the state.

I know that in modern Canada we like to pretend that religion is just some benign force, and that it is just a few zealots who "distort" their faith (whatever it might be) that are the concern. Unfortunately the facts tell otherwise in numerous other countries--not least of which the United States where large, organized groups of Christian fundamentalists run around picking on gays, the terminally ill, drug addicts, and unwed teenage mothers. Forgive me if I dont wish to give ANY religion the tools to consolidate power and protect itself from scrutiny. Mark Steyn may be an ignorant, uneducated buffoon who cant form a coherent argument to save his life, but religions can and do influence the course of a society and I would prefer to err on the side of caution and not censor his views to avoid setting dangerous precedents.

Scott - Before you shove court cases in my face you might want to familiarize yourself with judicial review. That case likely could have been successfully prosecuted in Criminal Court to begin

Ti-Guy said...

Guess we don't need those thousands of Swivel Servants toiling in the bowels of the CHRC offices across the land - that should save $$Millions. The Feds can use that money to pay all those Canadians for the pain and suffering they suffered at the hands of these Kangaroo Courts.

Nothing like a full moon rising.


There's no excuse for this. Mental heath care is universally accessible in Canada.

Do you want a referral, Fred?

Ti-Guy said...

Unfortunately the facts tell otherwise in numerous other countries--not least of which the United States where large, organized groups of Christian fundamentalists run around picking on gays, the terminally ill, drug addicts, and unwed teenage mothers.

But the US is a bastion of free speech! So obviously, this is the ideal situation.

Paul said...

KC, we try not to mention Xtians on this blog as ti's blood pressure and mental state become more disturbed then his medications are able to manage.

Ti-Guy said...

KC, we try not to mention Xtians on this blog as ti's blood pressure and mental state become more disturbed then his medications are able to manage.

You mean "than his medications are able..."

I don't have a problem with Christians (unlike KC). I have a problem with stupid people, especially ones who won't shut up.

Is that ever going to stop being such a sin?

KC said...
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Paul S said...

The "stupid people" have been those who have engaged in vendettas against valid expressions of opinion by abusing various HRC's across the country.

Hoisting the white flag should be getting a little tiresome for them by now.

Ti-Guy said...

You're more interesting when you're denying and lying about global warming, Paul.