Thursday, February 17, 2011

Freedom to Read Week

Next week is "Freedom to Read Week" in Canada.

Below is the press release prepared by the Book and Periodical Council.

Free Expression in Canada
Should a few decide for the rest of us? It’s about choice!
Freedom to Read Week 2011

Toronto, Feb. 16/11 — Canadians assume they have the right to express opinions and choose freely what they read, watch and hear. But consider the following:

The Canadian Library Association has seen an alarming rise in reported “challenges” to reading material in libraries each year since 2006.

The books in the Southern Vampire Mystery series, written by Charlaine Harris, received the most challenges in Canadian libraries in 2009.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council decided to have “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits pulled from Canadian airwaves because of just one complaint.

Freedom to Read Week: an opportunity to defend our freedoms and protect our choices.

Recent achievements are cause for celebration:
In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court of Canada recognized the defence of “public interest responsible communication” (PIRC) which grants writers, broadcasters, publishers and bloggers a new legal defence against libel suits.

The Supreme Court of Canada has unanimously ruled that journalists may protect whistleblowers from public scrutiny as long as journalists can show that maintaining confidentiality is in the public interest.
Individuals and organizations across Canada have won intellectual freedom awards for their dedication to free expression such as Alan Borovoy, the Citizen Lab, Lawrence Hill and the Calgary Public Library.

This month, dozens of free public events, panel discussions, readings and displays will take place across Canada in support of Freedom to Read Week 2011 (February 20 to 26). These events are designed to provide Canadians with the opportunity to learn more about freedom of expression and its challenges in Canada and offer people a forum to share their views about censorship and the right to free speech and opinion.

“We need to be vigilant if we are to keep books, magazines and newspapers free to express opinions and present stories without fear of reprisals, whether we agree with the point of view or not,” said Marg Anne Morrison, Chair of the Freedom of Expression Committee. “Our libraries, in particular, need the freedom to provide a wide variety of reading materials that address the controversial topics facing our modern world.”

Freedom to Read Week is organized by the Book and Periodical Council’s Freedom of Expression Committee, a group committed to promoting intellectual freedom in Canada. Since 1978, the Freedom of Expression Committee has worked with educators, librarians and the community at large to provide information that addresses censorship and book and magazine challenges in Canada.

To learn more about Freedom to Read Week and get details on all events, please visit

For more information, contact
the Book and Periodical Council at
416-975-9366 or

Celebrate your Freedom to Read by setting a goal for the "Banned Book Challenge."  Choose from the 2009  Challenged Books and Magazines List or from a list of suggested reading prepared by the Pelham Public Library.

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