The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: orgs/canadian/bc/Human-Rights-Commission/Collins-01-Press-Council-Submission.15


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 Brning 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."


Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.