Canadian Journalists for Free Expression campaigns against free expression – of course

PR just received: (Toronto, ON – June 19, 2017)  On June 17, 2017, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) attended a rally by far-right media group The Rebel. At the event, dubbed ‘The Rebel Live’, CJFE contracted a video billboard truck owned by outdoor marketing company Wild On Media and displayed a video advertisement in support of CJFE’s latest campaign. This campaign seeks to challenge public assumptions about human rights in Canada.  The ad campaign is part of a crowdfunding and public awareness initiative run by CJFE to defend democracy and challenge hate, based at cjfe.org/democracy.

The advertisements feature section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Arabic accompanied by the English-language message, “These Rights Belong to All of Us.” Section 2 enshrines the rights to freedom of expression, press, religion and association.  The concept for the advertisement is borrowed from a high-profile billboard campaign by the American Civil Liberties Union designed by New York-based agency Emergence Creative.

CJFE is striving to raise awareness about the rise in prominence of anti-democratic hate groups in Canada and the increased use of ‘free expression’ as a shield for overtly Islamophobic sentiment, as well as the need for civil society to challenge extreme rhetoric.  The Rebel Media has played a prominent role in the resurgence of far-right movements in Canada and around the world.

At the ‘Rebel Live’ event, there were several notable speakers from the political right, including  University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson, who  argued that the recently passed transgender-rights Bill C-16 represented a threat to free expression, despite this interpretation being rejected by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Bar Assocation, and others. Also featured was Rebel Media employee Gavin McInnes, the founder of far-right “fight club” the ‘Proud Boys’. In his address McInnes addressed suggestions for increased dialogue with the political left by calling on supporters of The Rebel to “stop talking to satanic retards.”

CJFE has learned that two journalists from media watchdog site Canadaland were prevented from attending by organizers. Organizers attributed this decision to past critical tweets that had fact-checked statements by The Rebel. CJFE previously published letters of support for The Rebel after the Alberta Legislature moved to bar their accreditation and after the UNFCCC barred the outlet access to the Conference of Parties climate summit in Marrakesh.

“Obviously barring media outlets because of critical coverage appears to be arbitrary and hypocritical.” said CJFE campaigner Duncan Pike, “Our activity is about improving civil discourse, challenging hateful narratives, and standing up for universal values. While The Rebel certainly has the right to use provocative or inflammatory language, we also have a responsibility to challenge bad ideas that dehumanize marginalized groups. Our democratic rights belong to everyone.”

The CJFE campaign is running on billboards in Toronto’s transit system for the next five weeks.  CJFE indicates a desire to use funds raised through the advertising campaign to expand it to other locations and transit systems, including the Peel Region, where far right groups have announced plans to conduct weekly protests outside of public high-schools. These groups are opposed to accommodations the Peel School Board has made for Muslim prayers in public schools.

This should come as no surprise. I noticed the van in the parking lot but there was just too much going on inside the building to bother with it. As noted earlier, dying mainstream media have no stake in freedom of expression, but rather in getting progressive governments to adopt them as PR and then suppressing alternative points of view.

A couple of notes: “the increased use of ‘free expression’ as a shield for overtly Islamophobic sentiment” Does that mean negative feedback about changing the term “female genital mutilation” to “female genital beautification”? Yes, the crowd WAS negative about that.

“University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson, who  argued that the recently passed transgender-rights Bill C-16 represented a threat to free expression, despite this interpretation being rejected by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Bar Assocation, and others.”  Governments attempting to reshape language to suit themselves are always a threat to liberty by definition. The groups mentioned are cruising for business in a society that needs them less than ever before for the substantive issues. So if they could just get a chance to police language, they would have fat jobs forever.

“Obviously barring media outlets because of critical coverage appears to be arbitrary and hypocritical.” said CJFE campaigner Duncan Pike, “Our activity is about improving civil discourse, challenging hateful narratives, and standing up for universal values.” Unfortunately, people have been assaulted, pepper-sprayed, and shot recently by persons who would claim to be “challenging hateful narratives.” The Rebel conference gladly let in three New York Time reporters because those people probably still believe in civil society. At least for now.

“CJFE indicates a desire to use funds raised through the advertising campaign to expand it to other locations and transit systems, including the Peel Region, where far right groups have announced plans to conduct weekly protests outside of public high-schools. These groups are opposed to accommodations the Peel School Board has made for Muslim prayers in public schools.” Why should a public school board accommodate religious prayers? And the prayers of only one religion at that?  Wasn’t the answer to that decided to be no! a long time ago?

These  CJFE people probably do not know how badly they stink, how far they have strayed from any semblance of their former integrity. Shame. Shame. Shame.  And, it must be said, now sham!

See also: New York Times Sent Three Reporters To The Rebel Media’s Live 2017 Celebration

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  • Spatchcocked

    Free speech……..it’s so simple…..couldnt be simpler…….and yet.

    • Journalists… not smart.

      • dance…dancetotheradio

        They are s-m-r-t.

        • Chris

          Don’t lump Homer Simpson in these idiots

      • occupant 9

        They’re not journalists but activists for deeply perverse and treasonous progressive causes. Journalism is just their beard.

    • bargogx1

      It’s not so simple for the “I believe in free speech but” crowd.

  • occupant 9

    Yet again, the progressive name their group in direct opposition to the goal of their group. They claim to support free expression but champion the idea that “Islamophobia” is not only real, but a direct threat to Muhammadans trying to murder us.

    • bargogx1

      They’re using 1984 as an instruction manual again.

  • Norman_In_New_York

    “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell

  • simus1

    “Capitalists For Stalin And Peace”

    could not raise bus fare again and were no shows?
    This is getting serious.

  • Jaedo Drax

    any time this comes up, and you are confronted by ignorance, you can point them to this: https://pjmedia.com/blog/human-rights-vs-natural-rights/

    and if they still don’t understand, then they are being willfully ignorant, and probably won’t every change their minds.