Monday, March 12, 2007

Unclear on the concept

Freedom to read week’ is a week in Canada devoted to raising awareness of intellectual freedom. It is particularly concerned with censorship.  As part of this year’s campaign, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation asked Yann Martel, author of the Man Booker Prize winning novel Life of Pi, to read over the air at CBC Radio Saskatchewan from any banned or challenged book.  They knew he was scheduled to read from Mein Kampf that night at a Saskatoon Public Library event.  Martel chose Mein Kampf as the book he would read from over the air.  The CBC producers wouldn’t let him read from that book.  The CBC was apparently concerned that someone might turn on the car radio in the middle of the reading, and suddenly veer off to Walmart to buy a brown shirt.  Or perhaps they were afraid that with a Conservative government in Canada, someone might turn on the radio and think that the CBC had changed its normal liberal outlook.