OTTAWA, June 2 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of Journalists has won
intervenor status at this week's British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal
hearings on a complaint of religious and racial discrimination against
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 applied to intervene in defence of freedom of the press, freedom
of expression and because journalists' interests are clearly affected by the
proceedings. The CAJ doesn't believe the Tribunal has the constitutional right
to hear the complaint, but since the case is going forward the CAJ's position
is that human rights complaints under section 7 must consider the intent of
the writer when assessing published material.
Vancouver media lawyer Jason Gratl is representing the CAJ.
"This is about freedom of the press and whether a government-backed
tribunal can trump Charter rights to free speech" said CAJ past president Paul
Schneidereit. "We're pleased the Tribunal has given us the chance to make
those arguments at this important hearing."
The hearings begin today 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
For further information:
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