Mr. Steve Winogron, Program Manager, CFRA Ottawa
March 22, 2012
Dear Mr. Winogron:
I write to you on behalf of the Seriously Free Speech Committee, an organization founded specifically to defend freedom of speech on matters relating to the Palestine-Israel conflict.
We write to you because we are concerned that CFRA Ottawa has fired Michael Harris, a radio talk-show host at your station. Mr. Harris is an award winning author, and an experienced and highly regarded broadcaster.
It is our understanding that his firing came shortly after complaints about an article Mr. Harris had published on the iPolitics website February 1st, titled “Canada will be on the sidelines in search for Middle East peace”. This article is critical of the federal government’s policies on Israel. It appears therefore that CFRA succumbed to the pressure to silence Mr. Harris’ critical views on an important matter of public policy.
There have been many other similarly shameful efforts in Canada to pressure media and universities to eliminate critical public discussion of the Palestine-Israel conflict. Such efforts intend to throttle the necessary public airing of diverse interpretations of this important area of public policy. Simply put, those who engage in such tactics of censorship aim to deny Canadians the opportunity for genuine democratic discussion of this issue.
We therefore call on you to reinstate Michael Harris and to commit CFRA to upholding freedom of speech, supporting thereby the democratic right of citizens to hear and consider the full range of views on Palestine-Israel.
It is a matter of shame when media choose to act as censor. We object to it in other countries, and it simply is hypocrisy if we ourselves do what we condemn in others.
On behalf of the Seriously Free Speech Committee