TORONTO, Dec. 13, 2013 /CNW/ - PEN Canada expressed concern today that
Winnipeg MP Joy Smith's private member's bill would unreasonably limit
access to the Internet, creating a new threat to freedom of expression
in Canada. The bill would require Canadians who wish to opt out of
system-wide filtering for material deemed to be pornographic to
register this preference with their Internet Service Provider (ISP).
"Canadians have the right to access information without seeking
permission, either from a government authority, or from a vendor of
information services," said William Kowalski, chair of PEN Canada's
National Affairs Committee. "It is not appropriate for the government
or any ISP to document which households access which kinds of
PEN Canada believes that unrestricted access to the Internet should
remain the default option for Canadians, and that the government should
not play any role in vetting which online content is appropriate for
PEN Canada believes it is improper, and impractical, to assume that
technology designed to limit access to objectionable content can do so
without inadvertently limiting access to other material that falls
outside the scope of the bill. Canadians who prefer to forgo access to
certain material should implement their choices privately, at the level
of individual households, rather than impose a system-wide restriction
as the proposed bill seeks to do.
PEN Canada recognizes that MP Smith's proposal is intended to protect
children from harms that may be linked to online pornography. PEN in no
way wishes to downplay concerns about the relationship between
pornography, human trafficking, and other forms of exploitation.
However, PEN believes that the proposed measures do not offer an
effective solution to these problems, but rather create a new threat to
freedom of expression in Canada.
PEN Canada is a nonpartisan organization of writers that works with others to
defend freedom of expression as a basic human right at home and abroad.
PEN Canada promotes literature, fights censorship, helps free
persecuted writers from prison, and assists writers living in exile in
SOURCE: PEN Canada
For further information:
Juanita Bawagan, PEN Canada, JBawagan@pencanada.ca, 416-703-8448 ext. 21