News Bytes

Freedom of expression issues in the media


Illinois School Officials Cancel Canadian Author’s Visit

In early October 2019, school officials in Illinois cancelled the scheduled visit of a Canadian author because stories about “gender identity” in her non-fiction children’s book “caused concern.” Officials in Community Unit School District 200, which serves the towns of Wheaton and Warrenville near Chicago, cancelled Robin Stevenson’s visit to Longfellow Elementary School. Her book […]


Aftermath of Meghan Murphy’s Appearance at Toronto Public Library

In Toronto, city councillors have voted 20 to 1 to review the policies that govern the use of the city’s community spaces, including public libraries. The vote occurred after hundreds of demonstrators protested the appearance of Meghan Murphy, a feminist writer and speaker, at a branch of the Toronto Public Library on October 29, 2019. […]


An Attack on Turtle Island News

In southern Ontario, an unknown person drove a stolen truck into the office of a First Nation’s newspaper and started a blaze in the early hours of October 28, 2019. The office of Turtle Island News, which is located in the Six Nations of the Grand River near Hamilton, suffered approximately $150,000 worth of damage. […]


Vancouver Public Library Revises Room-Booking Policy

The board of the Vancouver Public Library (VPL) has approved a revised policy for people who wish to book library rooms and equipment. The VPL affirms its support for intellectual freedom. It will not block speakers, even those deemed “offensive or harmful,” as long as they do not violate the Criminal Code or B.C.’s human […]


Nova Scotia Proposes “100% China-Friendly” Website

Nova Scotia Business Inc. — an agency of Nova Scotia’s government — wants to establish a website in the People’s Republic of China. The website, which NSBI hopes to launch on November 1, 2019, would try to attract Chinese investment, help Nova Scotian exporters sell in China and build the province’s brand equity. The website […]


Reporter Justin Brake Files Charter Challenge

Justin Brake — the journalist who was charged with civil and criminal offences after he reported an Innu and Inuit protest at the construction site of a hydroelectric dam in Labrador in October 2016 — has filed a Charter challenge in court. Mr. Brake is seeking a stay of proceedings. Although Justice Derek Green of […]


Federal Government Committee Publishes Its Report about Online Hatred

In June 2019, the House Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in Ottawa published a report about hateful expression on the Internet. Taking Action to End Online Hate tentatively recommends reinstating section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. Parliament abolished the section, which authorized online censorship, in 2013.   REPORTAGE   In the National […]


Federal Government Committee Publishes Its Report about Online Hatred

In Ottawa, the House Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights has published a report about hateful expression on the Internet. The committee presented its report — Taking Action to End Online Hate — to the House of Commons on June 17, 2019. Read the full report here: https://www.ourcommons.ca/DocumentViewer/en/42-1/JUST/report-29/page-5   REPORTAGE Deborah Gyapong of Canadian […]


Justin Brake Scores a Victory in Court

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the Court of Appeal recently dismissed a civil charge of contempt against Justin Brake, a journalist. The Court of Appeal — which overturned a lower court ruling — delivered its verdict on March 28, 2019. In 2016, Mr. Brake followed protesters onto the construction site of a hydroelectric dam at Muskrat […]


TWUC Statement About Cuts to Ontario Library Services

The following TWUC statement was sent today to Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Michael Tibollo. If you wish to voice your own concern about the cuts to Ontario library services, you can do so online at this petition. The Writers’ Union of Canada strongly urges the Government of […]