Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Media Divides: Communication Rights and the Right to Communicate in Canada

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Media Divides: Communication Rights and the Right to Communicate in Canada

Article excerpt

Literature, Arts and Criticism Marc Raboy and Jeremy Shtern, Media Divides: Communication Rights and the Right to Communicate in Canada (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2010), 408 pp. Cased. $90. ISBN 978-0-7748-1774-5. Paper. $32.95. ISBN 978-0-7748-1775-2.

The academics who co-authored this wide-ranging volume were originally awarded a grant from the Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada and the Law Commission of Canada (LCC). However, as a consequence of cuts imposed by the incoming Harper government, the LCC disappeared. But the team's grant survived and the findings, together with policy proposals, are now made available in this book.

The authors' starting point is that the right to communicate in a liberal democracy must involve rather more than the ability to express one's opinions; it must ensure access to a wide range of information, and the ability to participate fully in public debate about the issues which affect one's life. Raboy and his colleagues ruefully concede that this issue has not figured in recent election campaigns, but, undeterred, they embark on an audit of the current state of communication rights in Canada.

The country is deemed to fall short not only of internationally trumpeted aspirations but also of its own rather self-satisfied declarations of intent and supposed practice. The difficulties of obtaining access to government documents, the digital divide - wifi is terrific, but only if you possess a portable computing device - and the use of personal data by unaccountable state agencies are all considered, as are the problems posed, even for the best-intended of regulators, by the border-hopping internet.

Inevitably there is a certain amount of overlap among the chapters - for example, the notorious case of Maher Arar certainly merits discussion, but tighter editing would have ensured that the basic facts of the case were presented once only (Arar is a joint Syrian/Canadian citizen who in 2002 was arrested in New York on the basis of false information supplied by the RCMP and transferred to Syria, where he was tortured before being returned to Canada). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.