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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Is there an outcome worse than censorship?

The three recent graduates of Osgoode Hall Law School who have filed human rights complaints against Maclean’s magazine argue it’s not censorship but access they want.

“Maclean’s is free to continue publishing the views of Mr. Steyn and its other in-house ‘experts’ on Islam and Muslims. However, on some occasions it has to provide our community an adequate opportunity to respond.”

To argue that Maclean’s has a right to publish the views of Mark Steyn only if the magazine provides access to those with dissenting views is like arguing that individuals have a right to private property as long as they accommodate trespassers.

Maclean's is a private company and not a public forum to which access is a legal right. The case being made against Maclean’s by these young Muslim lawyers is tantamount to a case for the nationalization and control of Canadian media. Old fashioned censorship, as repugnant as it is, would be preferred to an outcome in which the state establishes and enforces editorial mandates for private media companies.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on February 21, 2008 | Permalink


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What they want, in practice, is far worse than that - since, if it were to be granted by either the courts or one of these quasi-judicial tribunals, it would surely be a one-way street.

Access for offended Moslems, yes. But do you think it would work the other way around? Would Jews be granted the "right" to respond to anti-Israeli material? Would pro-lifers? Etc, etc, etc.

Posted by: Adam Yoshida | 2008-02-21 9:13:29 AM

For disenfranchised folks without a voice, they sure do a lotta talking, eh?

Posted by: Kathy Shaidle | 2008-02-21 9:20:37 AM

I think these law students know enough about the law to know (1) to seriously argue that Macleans violated human rights by publishing the Steyn excerpt is a losing argument and (2) arguing that Macleans should be forced to provide alternative views is also a losing argument, but (3) by making the complint in the first place they will get the access to the media they want (even if not in Macleans) so even if their complaint is thrown out as without merit at the first step (like half of all cases the Canadian HR commission gets) they still will have gotten what they want.

They have had many op/eds of theirs published in many major publications since this thing started - so many that I am sure they already feel they have their victory. I also think they know there is no chance the HR commission will order Macleans to give them access quite simply because that is not within the commissions powers to do. They could prder that macleans pay a fine and can order that they cease and desist from doing the same again, but they cannot order that they publish an article by the complainants.

Just as some people run for President of the US not because they think they have a hope in hell of winning, but because they want to shape the national political dialogue, these law students are not looking for a HR decision but a voice in public discussions of Islam. Whatever else comes of their case, their goal is already achieved.

Posted by: Fact Check | 2008-02-21 9:23:50 AM

Well Adam...if you read the post in the NP from Farber and Rudner...guess that is now the route?

Accomadation? Back in the homeland as am getting tired of these old issues showing up here.

Turbans on motorcycles = give me a break! Remind me of the tolerant society people have left to enjoy Canada?

I must have my wife take her bikini top off in India or Iran. Doors go both ways?

Posted by: The LS from SK | 2008-02-21 9:23:55 AM

No. no no Fat Chegue..as in the case before the CHRC...the CJC has created more disclosure than it intended I am sure.

Now we have the Islamic Supreme Coucil. LOL

Why would we have international students, paid for and supported by the government subsidy...so that they can express their human rights that they do NOT have in their homeland.

Surely they should have to file a complaint from abroad NON?

Deportation is the first thing that comes to mind as a first reality check.

Posted by: The LS from SK | 2008-02-21 9:34:45 AM

These Muslim Students are a long,long way from being Certified Canadian Lawyers,and as I remeber it,Law Students were always considered the super nerds and sneaky rascals in any University's daily life styles
one such Law Student was Manager of the University Hockey Team,could not skate much less play Hockey,went on to become Premier of Nova Scotia and got lots of Provincial Court Room experience as an accused under terms set out by the Criminal Code of Canada RSC - These Muslim Law Students should try and article in Saudi Arabia,or Syrian owned Lebanon -Macleod

Posted by: Jack Macleod | 2008-02-21 10:09:07 AM

Kathy said:
"For disenfranchised folks without a voice, they sure do a lotta talking, eh?"

Yeah way too much...the best thing we can do if we want to retun to a modicum of reason in this nation is ignore the self-serving tantrums of the reality- challenged who seem to end up as law students.

Posted by: WL Mackenzie Redux | 2008-02-21 11:55:06 AM

What they and all the others supporting them want is to advance Sharia further into Canada. This means that Islam must never be criticised, and that Islam must be given a superior role to all other religions and beliefs (sling whatever at the others but do not dare touch Islam). They will use any means to accomplish their goal from intimidation, bullying and violence to turning our insipid PC (tolerance for intolerance) and multiculturalism against us.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-02-21 12:18:15 PM

This is, of course, complete nonsense. If the issue is, by the complainants' admission, not whether or not Macleans can publish these views then the HRC, even with its vastly over-reaching mandate, has no business dealing with this.

Posted by: Janet | 2008-02-21 12:32:53 PM

I'm sorry, Fact Check, but you're wrong. You say that "by making the complint in the first place they will get the access to the media they want (even if not in Macleans) so even if their complaint is thrown out as without merit at the first step (like half of all cases the Canadian HR commission gets) they still will have gotten what they want." You are making the same mistake Daniel Pearl made, when he put himself at the mercy of Muslim fanatics. He reasoned that they would understand that, as a journalist, he could help them to get their message out to the world, and this would protect him. This was completely misreading his murderers: "the message" was his severed head, demonstrating that there was NOTHING so obscene and filthy that these subhumans would not do it to win, and so the rest of the world should look, tremble and submit.

What these "students" want is the ritual humbling of an enemy - bent necks, lowered eyes, submission before the superior power of Mohammed's invented "religion". They want the world to admit that wherever Islam casts its eye, opponents cringe and shuffle aside. They have no other message.

Posted by: Dr. Mabuse | 2008-02-21 7:48:00 PM

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