CAJ applies to intervene in Maclean's human rights case


    OTTAWA, May 29 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of Journalists has
formally applied for standing as an intervenor at the upcoming British
Columbia Human Rights Tribunal hearings on a complaint of religious and racial
discrimination against Maclean's magazine.
    The complaint, brought by Mohamed Elmasry and Naiyer Habib on behalf of
the Muslim residents of B.C., alleges Maclean's October, 2006, publication of
an excerpt from Mark Steyn's book, America Alone, is contrary to section 7 of
the B.C. Human Rights Code, which prohibits discriminatory or hateful speech.
    The CAJ has applied to intervene in defence of freedom of the press,
freedom of expression and because journalists' interests are clearly affected,
on many levels, by the proceedings. One argument the CAJ hopes to make is that
human rights cases under section 7 must consider the intent of the writer in
assessing published material.
    The CAJ is being represented by Vancouver media lawyer Jason Gratl.
    "This is an important opportunity for journalists' voices to be heard on
a case involving human rights and freedom of speech," said CAJ past president
Paul Schneidereit. "We hope the Tribunal will agree and grant us intervenor
status." The hearings start Monday, June 2, in Vancouver and are scheduled to
run all week.

    The CAJ is Canada's largest professional organization for journalists
from all media, with about 1,500 members across Canada. The CAJ's primary
roles are to provide high quality professional development for its members and
public-interest advocacy.



For further information: Mary Agnes Welch, CAJ president, (204)
943-6575, Cell: (204) 470-8862; Paul Schneidereit, CAJ past-president, (902)
426-2811 (extension 1124); John Dickins, CAJ executive director, (613)
526-8061, Cell: (613) 868-5442