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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another

7/16/2004

Bye Al Jazeera, we hardly knew you

Shaw and Rogers
have both said no thanks to the conditions imposed by the CRTC on the
carriage of Al-Jazeera. They don't want to be "censors". And you can
see their point when even the Chairman of the CRTC - a man who is
willing to pull the licence of a radio station which makes reference to
the endownment of Montreal weather women - is having a bit of trouble
on this one:
Charles Dalfen, chairman of the CRTC, said in an interview that Al-Jazeera has broadcast objectionable material.
Some of the remarks cited at commission hearings clearly held Jews up
to "hatred and contempt on the basis of religion," Dalfen said.
On the other hand, he said, Al-Jazeera met the test of being a credible
news service, and the commission had a legal duty not to unduly
infringe on freedom of expression. The conclusion was that "we couldn't
absolutely ban it," Dalfen said. There will be protections for news,
Dalfen said. "It may be that Osama bin Laden, as a news item, sends a
tape and they play the tape and the tape says `kill the Jews, or the
Christians, or crusaders, and I'm going to get them.' That would
normally be seen to be a pretty offensive statement, but it's news. So
it too isn't subject to the same degree of scrutiny."
the star