Ezra Levant is angry with the NO delivered to Energy East from the 82 mayors of Montreal's Urban Community to TransCanada Pipelines last January, and is accusing Mayor Coderre of favouring "Shariah" petroleum by saying NO to the "ethical" petroleum of Canada. But there is an important major flaw in Mr. Levant's argument.
Being an adult, a parent, grandparent, caregiver, teacher or other adult who interacts with children is very hard work. If we are doing our job, we must tread in dangerous waters. How can we do this in a diverse and multi-layered society? Can we nurture, protect and educate children, all at the same time?
Should York University accept funding that is contingent upon agreeing to remove a controversial piece of art? Without the ability to explore and express ideas that are troubling and even transgressive, universities would become mills that deliver pre-approved doses of information in community sanctioned packets.
Freedom of expression has cost my husband, Raif Badawi, his own freedom. As we speak, he is locked inside a small cell in a remote prison in Saudi Arabia; a country where censorship prevails. A country, my country, which views women as second class citizens. A country, my husband's country, that he so loves -- all of its land, its women and men, his love of his country, which extends right up to the doors of Shura, which is set on ruining the aspirations of an entire people. A country where the young are choking in a whisper that should be a scream.
The prospect of considering expanded blocking for copyright purposes validates the fears of civil liberties groups that the introduction of blocking requirements invariably expands to cover a wider net of content. Canadian copyright was already on track for a boisterous debate in the coming years with changes such as copyright term extension mandated by the Trans Pacific Partnership and a review of the law scheduled for 2017. If government officials envision adding VPN usage, access to U.S. Netflix and website blocking to the list of issues, copyright could emerge as one of the government's most difficult and controversial issues.
The problem with this particular group of guys isn't that they invoked the Vietnam War at all, it's that they did it for a really shitty reason. To suggest that any subject matter be restricted to any artist is a low-key expression of censorship and should be resisted. Politically sensitive, controversial imagery needs to be available; to declare it off-limits infantilizes the role of music and art, and our expectations from it.
So there you have it: censorship takes place when authorities -- i.e. those with real power -- issue fatwas, demand a book be withdrawn, remove it from schools/libraries, burn or otherwise prevent people from reading it. It would be censorship if Mr. Harper's Minister of literature turned around and said, "Take that sucker off the shelves. No one's gonna read about tampon lollipops on my watch!" No matter how hard Galloway et al. twists it, a petition to the Canada Council to reconsider an award just doesn't qualifies as censorship in the real world.
So much has been written about the cartoons published in the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo. But should main stream print media re-publish them? What if children see the images? What then? Or, alternatively, should we actively show them to our children? If we want our children to live in a democratic society, we had better teach them that freedom of expression has two ends to it.
Sony, along with a number of other major Hollywood studios and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) have been desperately trying to force Google to block search results that enable Internet users to illegally download their protected material. They want to create a situation where Internet service providers can block access to whole websites in an effort to prevent piracy.
I understand the nature of cultural and religious sensitivity. I believe in debate and free speech. What happened this past week put the two ideas -- free speech and religious sensitivity -- at polar opposites. I had realized that after we printed the clarification that the staff at The Eyeopener probably didn't fully understand the implications of our statement. We were accused of ignorance.
Seven Iranian students have received a suspended sentence of up to 12 months and 91 lashes each. Their crime: they recorded a video signing Pharrell Williams' song, Happy. A huge disconnect is obvious in Iran and Saudi Arabia where, in the name of Islam, varying degrees of orthodoxy is being enforced on the masses.
In today's world where digital innovation is driven by the ability to access and leverage the open Internet, the TPP proposes regressive Internet regulations that would be imposed on 12 countries party to the agreement (including Canada) by unaccountable U.S. conglomerates, with little to no meaningful consultation with the public.
Rihanna recently had her Instagram account deleted after posting one of the topless photos from her very racy, very stylish spread in Lui magazine earlier this month. Even though Instagram maintained it was an accident (who in their right mind would piss RiRi off on purpose?) and reinstated the account, it had still been wiped squeaky clean.
Imagine a world without a George Orwell and The Road to Wigan Pier, without Katherine Boo and Behind the Beautiful Forevers, or without Óscar Martínez and The Beast. What if Britain, the United States, and El Salvador had silenced these radicals before they ever documented working class poverty, the economics of slum life, and the horror of migrant trails?
In a world without the freedom to read, I am Salman Rushdie. I am 460 Confucian scholars who were suffocated to death so that recorded history would begin with the reign of Emperor Shih Huang Ti. I am Martin Luther whose Ninety-Five Theses was burned, but not before it set the stage for the Protestant Reformation. In a world without the freedom to read, I am anyone who has ever been censored into silence.
Only days ago, news leaked that Penguin Books India had quietly settled a 2011 lawsuit filed against it by a conservative Indian education reform group, which required the publisher to withdraw and destroy all available copies of the Indian edition of University of Chicago professor Wendy Doniger's book The Hindus: An Alternative History.
People like me who get excited about poring over the cheapie bins for bargain-priced cult classics should be positively ecstatic about the October programming at the Vancity Theatre. I talked to VIFC programmer Tom Charity about the VIFC's late October schedule -- including the Vancouver-shot porno chic Sexcula; the inspired decision to have Vancouver's Funerary Call do a live score for Häxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages; and the two films paired with Häxan: Ken Russell's The Devils -- a serious favourite of mine -- and Dario Argento's Inferno.