Wednesday, March 7, 2007

CBC, that Bastion of Democratic Radio

A few days ago, I posted about some, shall we say, questionable editorial practices on the part of CBC Radio producers and hosts. Well, now they've gone from stodgily prudish to outright censorious. Booker Prize-winning novelist Yann Martel was told he could not read excerpts from Hitler's Mein Kampf in an interview--about the freedom to read banned books! During Freedom to Read Week! Because they were afraid of offending listeners! CBC Saskatchewan is in some pretty fine company here, joining the ranks of that great ally to free thought, Heather Reisman, who banned the book from her stores in 2001. Difference is, Reisman's a private business owner, whereas you and I, brothers and sisters, own the CBC. If, like me, you think this is an egregious violation of the CBC's mandate as a public broadcaster, then please share your opinion with them.

I have:

I just learned of CBC Radio Saskatchewan's censorious refusal to allow Yann Martel to read from Mein Kampf on air. Given that he was being interviewed about his reading from the book as part of Freedom to Read Week, I find this not merely ironic, but grossly irresponsible. As a citizen in a putatively free democracy, I expect my public broadcasting system to show greater reverence for the freedom of individual expression. The only thing for it is to have Martel back on the air to talk about the restrictions placed upon him by CBC--and to read from the book. The producer responsible for this travesty should also have to publicly apologise on air and if he declines to do so, he should be subject to disciplinary action.


Zachariah Wells
Vancouver, BC

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