Challenging Racism and Violence in the Media Through Education
Canada's CanWest Global supports Israel’s War Crimes!
A December 2001 policy forces all editorial journalists of CanWest/Southam to only print pro-Israeli articles.
The following newspapers are therefore guilty of supporting the War Crimes committed by Israel:
Halifax Daily News, St. John's Telegram, Charlottetown Guardian, Montreal Gazette, Ottawa Citizen, Windsor Star, St. Catherines Standard, Regina Leader Post, Saskatoon Star Phoenix, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Vancouver Sun, Vancouver Province, Victoria Times-Colonist
Canadian media giant censures editorials deemed critical of Israel Journalists up in arms over ‘national’ policy Guy Tremblay, Special to The Daily Star
Canadian newspaper readers are being warned not to expect a balanced opinion from their dailies after executive orders from the country’s largest media corporation were given to run a select number of national editorials and homogenize remaining editorials across the country so as not to, among other things, reflect negatively on Israel’s occupation of Arab land.
Recently, media giant CanWest Global Communications Corp., owned by Israel (Izzy) Asper and family, announced that beginning Dec. 12 one, but eventually three, editorials a week would be written at corporate headquarters in Winnipeg and imposed on 14 dailies, which include the Vancouver Sun and Province, the Calgary Herald and the Montreal Gazette. CanWest also owns 50 percent of the nationally distributed National Post, which will be subject to the new directives as well.
Furthermore, in addition to the imposed editorials themselves, all locally produced editorial column pieces will be forced to conform to reflect the viewpoints of the CanWest Global corporation.
CanWest last year became Canada’s
dominant newspaper chain when it purchased Southam News Inc. from Conrad
Black’s holding company, Hollinger Inc., for a reported $3.2 billion
Can. ($2 billion) The deal transferred ownership of the 14 metropolitan
dailies and 128 local newspapers across the country.
"That is to say they do not want
to see any criticism of Israel. We do not run in our newspaper Op-Ed
pieces that express criticism of Israel and what it is doing in the
Middle East. We do not have the free-wheeling debate there should be
about these issues," Marsden said, paraphrasing the directives.
In response, David Asper, son of
Israel, launched a blistering defense of his corporate policy, asking
"since when do reporters at the Montreal Gazette have a right of
free speech that is greater than that of anyone else? They have launched
a childish protest, with all of the usual self-righteousness … why
don’t they just quit and have the courage of their convictions? Maybe
they should go out and, for the first time in their lives, take a risk,
put their money where their mouth is, and start their own
newspaper." The editorials are written by Editor-in-Chief Murdoch
Davis of Southam Newspapers, Inc.
But what is Southam’s "position" on Israel? Speaking to The Daily Star, Davis said: "Well, there isn’t just one position there. That’s a very complex issue, but we are essentially defenders of Israel as the only democratic country in that region and one which is generally under attack from its neighbors and surrounded by many neighbors who won’t even acknowledge its legal right to exist."
When asked whether Southam newspapers would allow the publication of an editorial which criticized Israel’s long-standing violation of international law and which called for a withdrawal form all occupied territory, including East Jerusalem, in accordance with UN resolutions 242, 338 and 425, Davis was frank.
"(Southam Newspapers) disagree(s) with some of those resolutions." However, he refused to discuss what exactly his corporation found unsatisfactory with the resolutions.
"Look, I’m not going to debate the Middle East and the politics of the Middle East with you," he said.
Davis declined to speculate on the
content of any potential Southam editorial in terms of what he would or
wouldn’t accept from his papers, but said: "Of course we’re not
going to run editorials that we don’t agree with. Editorials express
Davis defended the corporation’s
right to enforce homogeneity of opinion in the editorial column.
"In the editorials themselves, we would not expect the papers to
contradict themselves, simply on the argument that it would look
foolish, to say the least.
"I don’t know what your journalism culture is there, but certainly the journalism culture in North America is that the notion of a newspaper or a newspaper company taking issue with government policy is perfectly ordinary. We express the views that we hold (and) whether they happen to coincide with government foreign policy or not is a moot point.
"We embrace democratic, open debate, and that includes the freedom to disagree with the resolutions of the United Nations or resolutions of the Canadian Parliament, or resolutions of the Israeli Parliament or any other organization. That is what freedom of expression is all about." Others, however, are not entirely convinced by that argument and maintain that standardizing editorial column opinion across the country will only hurt freedom of expression.
Catherine McKercher, journalism
professor at Carleton University, expressed her concern.
"Concentration of ownership in the Canadian media business is at an
extreme level. CanWest owns 60 percent of newspapers and other media
outlets, and what we’re seeing now is the result of this kind of
concentration," she said. "I think most people in journalism
find it, frankly, appalling," she added. "It’s not so much
the idea that anyone would want to trample on the owners’ right to
write editorials, but the whole idea of a national editorial in this
country is bizarre given that this is a country that is not only built
on diversity, but one in which regional or provincial interests
generally take precedence."
|Other websites regarding this article:|
|- Montreal Gazette journalists protesting CanWest’s policies|
|- CBC has an audio interview regarding CanWest’s December 2001 policies|
|- Canadian Association of Journalists regarding CanWest’s policy|
Southam newspapers who’s editorials must have unconditional support to Israel
|Southam Papers: firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Letters to the Editor: email@example.com|
Journal Editor in Chief:
|BE FIRM, BUT POLITE. Racism has no place in Canada!|
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