An insult to free speech
Freedom of speech does not include the right to have one’s views published or broadcast. Nor does freedom of the press carry with it an obligation to give space to views opposed to those held by the press’ owners or their editors.
Indeed, the only way that a right to have one’s views aired could exist is if the government restricted the freedom of the press, forcing media outlets to publish or broadcast material that was deemed otherwise unworthy.
In other words, such a “right” would exist only if the state assumed the power to regulate public discourse, which would be anathema to our democratic ideals.
Apparently, Khurrum Awan doesn’t have much respect for those ideals. A recent graduate of Osgoode Hall law school in Toronto, Mr. Awan has put his name to various human-rights complaints against Maclean’s magazine and writer Mark Steyn, whom the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC) accuses of Islamophobia. Mr. Awan and his coplaintiffs demand that the magazine provide a pro-Islamist writer with space equal to the amount devoted to Mr. Steyn’s work.
At a conference over the weekend, Mr. Awan betrayed just how thoroughly he and his fellow travellers misunderstand the concept of freedom of speech.