PEN Canada opposes CBSC's regulatory intrusion on the right to freedom of expression

TORONTO, Feb. 1 /CNW/ - As an organization that works to defend freedom of expression and fight against censorship, PEN Canada believes that no regulatory body, private or otherwise, is entitled to accord itself the power to determine what forms of  public speech are permissible. The error is particularly egregious when regulators deliver ad hoc judgments on the language of artistic expression. Section 2(b) of The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms recognises a right to freedom of "thought, belief, opinion and expression," and we believe this fundamental liberty, one of the cornerstones of any modern democracy, should be interpreted as broadly as possible.

On October 14, 2010 the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) decided that the original version of the 1985 Dire Straits song "Money for Nothing" was too offensive for airplay in Canada. The ruling was issued in response to a February 1, 2010 complaint by a member of the LGBT community against the radio station CHOZ-FM in St John's, Newfoundland. The CBSC panel held that an anti-gay slur in the original version of "Money for Nothing" violates both the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) Code of Ethics and its Equitable Portrayal Code.

PEN Canada urges the CBSC to respect the right to freedom of expression and to lift its ban on the original version of "Money for Nothing."


For further information:

Brendan de Caires ( PEN Canada, 416 703 8448 ext 21


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