Archive/File: orgs/canadian/bc/Human-Rights-Commission/Collins-01-Press_Council-Submission.15 Last-Modified: 1998/09/21 327. The Press Council respectfully submits that the power of the community to eliminate hate or bias speech depends not on its ability to punish a racist speaker or writer, but instead on the depth of its commitment to the principles of equality in employment and education. No social institution is better suited to fight bigotry than a free press. Government measures are always suspect. The essential distinction is between regulating speech and regulating conduct. The Press Council, like other free speech advocates, takes the position that people should have the right to hold and express views that others may find repugnant, offensive or emotionally distressing. This does not prohibit government from enacting disciplinary measures aimed at restricting acts of physical harassment, intimidation and invasion of privacy. Speech should only be limited by valid speech restrictions in the federal criminal law. 328. The Press Council believes that the proper response to bigotry is education and speech. Compromising free speech ultimately threatens the rights of minorities. All too often, regulations on speech are used to silence the very people they were designed to protect in the first place. 329. The Press Council suggest more government energy and money should be spent on the vigorous investigation and prosecution of anti-Semitic vandalism and other hate crimes. 330. The Press Council submits that the application of s.7(1) of the Human Rights Code to member newspapers will alienate the public and put the public into a more direct adversarial relationship with the press, to the detriment of journalism and the public interest. 331. The Press Council's basic position is that democracy in this country cannot survive without a press that functions freely and independently of government interference. It is entirely appropriate for newspapers to submit voluntarily to a limited form of regulation by institutions such as the Press Council but intolerable in a free and democratic society that government play a role in disciplining the press for news or opinion which is allegedly offensive to someone or to some group. 332. The 1993 amendment was alarming to the Press Council . The Government of British Columbia, under the auspices of the then Minister of Human Rights, Anita Hagen, made the amendment to section 2 of the Human Rights Act without prior public consultation and the Press Council received no notice of the intended amendment before it was tabled in the Legislature. 333. The Press Council has made numerous representations to the Government of British Columbia on behalf of its membership since enactment of the 1993 amendments, and has met with, or communicated with, the Honourable Attorney General Ujjal Dosanjh on numerous occasions, all in an effort to have changes made to the legislation in order to protect free speech rights, including those of the newspapers who are members of the Press Council. The Attorney General could not point to a specific instance of a newspaper publication that he considered infringed section 7(1) of the Act, suggesting that its application to the news media is totally unnecessary. 334. Robert Yanow, the Chairman of the Press Council, deposes in his affidavit (Exhibit 55) that he met with Attorney- General Ujjal Dosanjh in Victoria on Tuesday, October 7, 1995 to discuss a proposal contained in the Chairman's letter of August 8, 1995 concerning changes proposed by the Press Council to exclude newspapers from the operation of the new Code. That proposal was rejected by the Government. 335. The affidavit of Professor Flint, the Chairman of the World Association of Press Councils and the Chairman of the Australian Press Council (Exhibit 60), reveals that a press council can function efficiently and apply non-governmental controls to the expression of discriminatory speech in member newspapers. Government intervention is unnecessary and should be rejected in a free and democratic society. (DD) Censorship Is Inherently Undesirable. Censorship:...official inspection and regulation of matter intended for publication or for public production or exhibition. Funk and Wagnall's New Standard Dictionary 336. Frank Miele states in Giving the Devil His Due: If the Holocaust is to be treated as a historical event, rather than an article of religious faith, it must be subjected to continued, critical revision, and treated no differently than the Battle of Waterloo or any other historical event. Lipstadt, one of the severest critics of Holocaust revisionists, notes that Jean- Claude Pressac was at first impressed by Faurisson's "seemingly vast array of knowledge" and "began to meet with him on a regular basis" (p.175). It was only after Pressac studied Faurisson's work and then rejected it that he produced his own work, which Lipstadt and others believe so effectively destroys the revisionist argument on the gas chambers. Indeed, the most prominent critics of the claims of Holocaust revisionists, Deborah Lipstadt, Pierre Vidal-Naquet, and Michael Shermer, have publicly stated they oppose laws that criminalize revisionism. (Lipstadt, 1993, p.17; Vidal-Naquet, 1992, pp. 71-71; Shermer, 1994, p. 14)." 337. J.M Coetzee, in Giving Offense, Essays on Censorship, states: The punitive gesture of censoring finds it origin in the reaction of being offended. The strength of being-offended, as a state of mind, lies in not doubting itself; its weakness lies in not being able to afford to doubt itself. [ page ix] I cannot find it in myself to align myself with the censor, not only because of a sceptical attitude, in part temperamental, in part professional, toward the passions that issue in taking Offense, but because of the historical reality I have lived through and the experience of what censorship becomes once it is instituted and institutionalized. Nothing in either my experience or my reading persuades me that state censorship is not an inherently bad thing, the ills it embodies and the ills it fosters outweighing, in the long run and even in the medium run, whatever benefits may be claimed to flow from it. ...But aside from [the] historical explanation of my position, I have more pragmatic grounds for mistrusting censorship. The chief of these is that, in my experience, the cure is worse than the disease. The institution of censorship puts power into the hands of persons with a judgmental, bureaucratic cast of mind that is bad for the cultural and even the spiritual life of the community.[ pages 9-10]: At an individual level, the contest with the censor is all too likely to assume an importance in the inner life of the writer that at the very least diverts him from his proper occupation and at its worst fascinates and even perverts the imagination. In the personal records of writers who have operated under censorship we find eloquent and despairing descriptions of how the censor- figure is involuntarily incorporated into the interior, psychic life, bring with it humiliation, self-disgust, and shame. In unwilling fantasies of this kind, the censor is typically experienced as a parasite, a pathogenic invader of the body-self, repudiated with visceral intensity but never wholly expelled. If representations, mere shadows, are indeed so dangerous, one reflects, then surely the appropriate countermeasures are other representations, counter-representations. If mockery corrodes respect for the state, if blasphemy insults God, if pornography demeans the passions, surely it will suffice if stronger and more convincing countervoices are raised defending the authority of the state, praising God, exalting chaste love. This response is wholly in accord with the teleology of liberalism, which believes in throwing open the marketplace to contending forces because in the long run the market tends to the good, that is to say, to progress, which liberalism understands in a historical and even metaphysical light. It is wholly at odds with the outlook of the more austere branches of Islam, Judaism, and Protestant Christianity, which, detecting a seductive and devilish force at the root of the power of representation, and thus having no reason to expect that, in a war of representation, a war without rules, good representations will triumph, prefer to ban graven images _" 338. Censorship is the tool of tyranny; free speech is tyranny's worst enemy. Tyrants such as Hitler and Stalin are those responsible for excesses such as the Holocaust and the destruction of the Ukrainian kulaks. The depth of tyrannical hatred for a free press is unmistakably illustrated in Mein Kampf, where Hitler had this to say: It is of paramount interest to the state and the nation to prevent these people [newspaper readers] from falling into the hands of bad, ignorant or even vicious educators. The state, therefore, has the duty of watching over their education and preventing any mischief. It must particularly exercise strict control over the press; for its influence on these people is by far the strongest and most penetrating, since it is applied, not once in a while, but over and over again. In the uniformity and constant repetition of this instruction lies its tremendous power. If anywhere, therefore, it is here that the state must not forget that all means must serve an end; it must no let itself be confused by the drivel about so- called `freedom of the press' and let itself be talked into neglecting its duty and denying the nation the food which it needs and which is good for it; with ruthless determination it must make sure of this instrument of popular education, and place it in the service of the state and the nation." 339. Hitler acted on his hatred of a free press and brought it under a complete state control shortly after he achieved a position in government where he could do so. In the Encyclopaedia of Censorship, Jonathon Green states at page 107: 4. Nazi press controls (1933-45) The German press in 1933, at the advent of the Third Reich, was prolific, diversified and culturally broadminded. It embraced the extremes of political thought, from the right-wing Nazi sheets to the left-wing organs of the SPD and KPD (the German Socialist and Communist Parties). It sustained many Catholic publications and a large group of Generalanzeiger (non-partisan, independent papers). Despite statements to the contrary, it was not a particularly Jewish phenomenon, although Ullstein, the largest publisher in Germany, was Jewish firm. To the Nazis, the press represented just one more aspect of the nation that was due for reorganization and reorientation. The press, as Hitler pointed out in Mein Kampf, had a great effect on mass opinion and as such was to be strictly controlled. Such concepts as press freedom were "corrosive" of the state, which "therefore must proceed with ruthless determination and take control of this instrument of popular education and put it in the service of the state and the nation." The initial treatment of the press was part of the overall Gleichschaltung (coordination), the "national reconstruction" that took the form of the coordination and centralization under the Nazi banner of all German organizations and institutions. This was generally effected by purging the leadership of such organizations of their former personnel and replacing them with the Nazi faithful. The reaction of the Verein Deutscher Zeitungsverleger (VDZV, the Society of German Newspaper Publishers) was to compromise. Hitler appeared initially to welcome such an approach. While the communist (KPD) and socialist (SPD) press were to be eradicated, the independent burgerliche (middle-class) papers would be safe, although they, in common with every cultural institution, must demonstrate their loyalty to the regime. Thus, when the Marxist/Socialist press, some 150 papers, was summarily shut down, the VDZV made no comment, offering only a statement deploring the "atrocious propaganda" appearing in the foreign press, and stressing their own solidarity with the party. Goebbels, the Reich minister of propaganda, who had formerly denounced the "downright mistaken orientation of the German press." praised this contribution to "national discipline". The VDZV capitulated further in June 133 when seven of its directors, the least popular with the regime, voluntarily resigned and were replaced by Nazi appointees. Max Amann, Reich press leader and business manager of both the NSDAP and the party newspaper, the Volkischer Beobachter, was made chairman and infiltrated his puppet, Rolf Reinhardt, as the chairman's personal representative, a position with disproportionate powers of control and access. The professional associations of journalists and editors were similarly co-opted, with Otto Dietrich, a hard- line opponent of all non-party publications, as head of the Reichsverband der Deutschen Prese (Reich Association of the German Press). Like so many German organizations, remodelled on Nazi lines, the RVDP remained ostensibly anonymous, but in reality became a party cypher, administering rules imposed from above, such as the automatic exclusion from the profession of all Jews and Marxists (1,300 of whom were purged by 1935) and the screening of all journalists for racial and political reliability. Under the direct control of the Ministry of Propaganda, which appointed its president and could veto the enrollment (and thus employment) f any journalist, the RVDP helped ensure that the press, as Hitler desired, was rendered no more than a state mouthpiece. On October 4, 1933, Goebbels had enacted the Schrift-leitergesetz (editor's law, one of a number of laws designed to establish the power and status of the Propaganda Ministry, which was accruing to itself the total control of all German media and culture. The law was aimed mainly at working journalists - the Shcriftleiter-but also involved owners and publishers. ..The Ministry of Propaganda had the absolute right to arbitrate over those who might work as journalists and could set down the educational, racial and professional qualifications necessary for acceptance. A code of professional duties and ethics was established and the journalist's legal status itemized. Overriding every consideration was the demand that journalists "regulate their work in accordance with National Socialism as a philosophy of life and as a conception of government." The chief editor on a paper was responsible for the content of that paper, and any attempt by its publisher to influence that content was a crime, punishable by a fine, imprisonment or loss of the license to publish. An editor was defined as a public educator, who thus owed allegiance only to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. The role of an owner or publisher was extensively diminished, reflecting both the pragmatic needs of the party and its political promises to downgrade the nation's "corrupt capitalists." The press was further disciplined by the operations of the Reichpressekammer (RPK, Reich Press Chamber), itself subordinate to the Reichkulturkammer (RKK, Reich Chamber of Culture), which was established in September 1933 with responsibility for literature, radio, film, theater, music, fine arts and the press, all under the aegis of the Ministry of Propaganda, which operated as ever by taking over existing organizations and suborning them to the needs of the Nazi Party... The VDZV was renamed the Reichverband der Deutscher Zeitungsverleger (RVDZV) in 1934 and dedicated to purging the press of all undesirable elements - both by screening individuals and checking the editorial content of every paper regarding certain key issues - and establishing uniformity and centralized direction. Everything was to work according to party ideology. By 1936 the purges were complete, with the disqualification of some 1,473 publishers and certificates of reliability issued to the rest. .... The culminating example of control over the German press came in the passing in April 1935 of the Amann Ordinances, three measures that completed the muzzling and redirection of the nation's press. Using as his justification the implementing decrees of the Reichpressekammer and a lengthy memorandum prepared by Reinhardt replete with complex legal and economic justifications, Amann achieved behind a masquerade of legitimacy the same destruction of the bourgeois press as had, with open force, been rendered against the left- wing newspapers. The ordinances were as follows: (1) withdrawal of publishing rights from any publisher who by sensationalism, by offenses against public taste or morals, brought the publishing industry and the honour of the press into disrepute; (2) the power to close down any paper in an area where, due to an excess of competitors, it was rendered economically unsound; the RVDZ would indicate such areas and the Cura (the party's department of management specialists) would decide on which papers should go; (3 all papers were to make full disclosure of their ownership since 1800, all of which had to show true Aryan descent; any private enterprise capital investment or subsidies had to be revealed and would in future require the approval of the RPK, a move intended to suppress private involvement in the press. As Amann put it, "Moneybags shouldn't be allowed to make public opinion." And (4) the exclusion of "confessional, vocational, or special interest groups." This was aimed at the large Catholic press and such Jewish publications as were still defying the anti-Semitic regulations. Using the ordinances, Amann succeeded in the desired "cleansing and reform" of the German press and achieved his four basic aims: (1) the exclusion from publishing of all non-Aryans and other minority interest groups, whether based on economics, class or religion, as well as all servants and employees of such groups; (2) the elimination of private enterprise that might work contrary to Nazi wishes; (3) the promotion of the educational role of the press on ideologically pure lines; and (4) the enforcement of the principle of a publisher's responsibility (in the face of severe penalties) for the content of his paper. The owners were stunned by the scope and harshness of the ordinances, but they capitulated and by September 1936 the Nazi Verlaspolitik (press policy) was absolutely in place and Amann could state, "We have freed the newspapers from all ties and personalities that hindered or might hinder the accomplishment of their National- Socialist tasks." Around 600 papers had been closed down, merged or taken over by the Eher Verlag. The sectarian, provincial and independent press had vanished in what constituted the largest single confiscation of private property under the Third Reich. The survivors, those papers considered officially pure, were dull and uniform and were often rejected by their former readers. Few writers of quality chose to become journalists and circulation declined. Not only was criticism of the regime within the press taboo, but under Goebbel's instructions, so too was any criticism of the press itself." 340. In The Captive Press in the Third Reich [Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J. 1964], Oron J. Hale states at p. 11: _ In the struggle for the preservation of the Republic the principle of freedom of the press was a major casualty. " And at page 13: "Observing the structure and problems of the German press in the crisis years that produced the Third Reich, these critical weaknesses are manifest: economic foundations that were seriously eroded by the depression; penetration of the press by special interest groups political and economic; a deep rift between journalists' and publishers' associations that prevented cooperation; and a sharp abridgement of freedom of the press through the emergency decrees of the Brning and Papen governments. The press mirrored the mood and condition of the country_confusion, uncertainty, and fear, and the class of irreconcilable parties and ideologies. In the revolutionary period that began with Hitler's appointment as chancellor, the working press_editors and journalists_was one of the first bodies to be "cleansed", coordinated, and subjected to state control." On page 14: "It is axiomatic that a totalitarian system must control the media of mass communication_press, films, radio and now television. In Soviet Russia the press became an integral part of the administrative apparatus of state and party; in Fascist Italy the journalists were organized in a state-controlled guild subservient to the political regime; in Nazi Germany the newsmen and editors were likewise subjected to stringent control, but going beyond that the regime largely despoiled the publishers of their rights and properties. This was a significant part of the calculated nazi program to employ the press not only for propaganda but also as an instrument of social control and integration." On page 59: "Some significant conclusions can be drawn from the appearance of a new political press in Germany. First is the fact that although the party had fifty-nine daily journals in 1932, their combined circulation was barely three-quarters of a million. The circulation successes of the Nazi press came after and not before the accession to power." On page 148: "The Amann Ordinances of April 1935 The liquidation of the Marxist press in 1933 was accomplished by seizure and expropriation; the liquidation of the greater part of the middle class press was effected behind a screen of legalism provided by the Amann ordinances of April 1935. These decrees, three is number, were issued by Amann under the authority of Paragraph 25 of the Reich Chamber of Culture implementing the decree." On pages 232 - 233: "For a regime dependent upon effective propaganda the decline in newspaper reading was disquieting since the party authorities understandably wanted an unfailing pipeline into every German household. The national campaign, launched in the autumn and winter of 1936, was designed to win old and new subscribers with a view to bringing the entire adult population under the influence of the controlled press." _ Goebbels' appeal pointed to a serious condition which the National Socialist revolution had produced in the country with regard to the press_a severe crisis in confidence and a general environment of criticism. The Nazi rank and file repudiated the bourgeois press; and those circles indifferent or hostile to National Socialism would not accept the Nazi papers."
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