2012 Freedom to Read Week: Why It Matters!

Focusing Attention on Our Right to Choose

For twenty-eight years, the Book and Periodical Council and its Freedom of Expression Committee have organized Freedom to Read Week (FTRW). This annual, national event reminds Canadians why we must remain vigilant in protecting our right to free expression — a right that is too frequently challenged to allow complacency to set in.

The freedom to read can never be taken for granted. Even in Canada, a free and democratic country by world standards, schools and libraries are frequently asked to remove books and magazines from their shelves. Books and other publications are regularly banned at our borders, and free expression on the Internet is under attack.

Although few of these stories make headlines, they can have consequences that directly affect the freedom of Canadians to choose their reading materials: books, newspapers, magazines or websites. These stories can even affect what we watch on television or listen to on the radio.

This year, Freedom to Read Week runs from February 26th to March 3rd. Dozens of public events and festivals will take place in libraries, schools and cultural venues across Canada. Through these events, FTRW provides the opportunity for the public to learn more about the on-going challenges faced by educators, librarians, writers, reporters and the media. A complete list of events is available at freedomtoread.ca/events.

“The Freedom of Expression Committee’s main role is to monitor censorship issues in Canada to help ensure that the rights of all Canadians are protected. We simply can’t afford to take these freedoms for granted,” said Marg Anne Morrison, Chair of the committee. “We work with educators, librarians, booksellers, publishers and others across Canada to help them deal with challenges to reading materials and censorship in their own communities.”