Sunday, April 20, 2008

Joseph Brean in the Post

Another great piece from our intrepid human rights reporter. The part that really gets me is not where Barbara Hall says that human rights complaints "may have to spike," although that sure is enough to send a bit of a chill up the ol' vertebrae.

No, I'm just struck by the wording of Hall's directive to the media:

In a wide-ranging interview this week about the upcoming changes to her commission's mandate, she stood firmly by her position that media have a responsibility to put their writings through a "human rights filter" before publication, and said the commission is keen to call out those who do not, jurisdiction be damned.


That phrase - "human rights filter" - really sounds unpleasant. I suppose she's really only arguing for what some would call reasonable caution and restraint. But to me, it sounds like she's talking about something more far-ranging. Media companies in Canada probably never spent time worrying about any "filters" other than accuracy and interest - that is, until the Maclean's case blew up. Now, all of a sudden, media are supposed to be subject to this new "filter," the nature of which seems to shift from one day to the next? How is anyone to publish anything controversial?