Shaw Cable Censorship of Palestine/Israel

Recent EXAMPLES OF Shaw Censorship

SOmE PRevious Examples of Shaw community cable censorship of programs on the Middle East

1. SERIOUSLY FREE SPEECH PANEL– MAY 14, 2008
2. RESOLVING THE ISRAEL-PALESTINE CONFLICT with Dr. NORMAN FINKELSTEIN– JANUARY 21, 2009
3. RONNIE KASRILS LECTURE – MARCH 8, 2009

SFSC Letter to CRTC

May 10, 2009

Mr. Konrad W. von Finckenstein, Chairman,
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

Mr. Robert A Morin, Secretary General,
Canadian Radio-television and telecommunications Commission

Dear Sirs:

On behalf of the Seriously Free Speech Committee, I am writing to strongly protest a pattern of censorship in which Vancouver Shaw Cable requires its community televisions programs to delete comments or add editorial comments. In one case, in which Shaw editorial comments were added, Shaw still refused to broadcast the program because it would not allow the source of the editorial comments to be disclosed. Thus the company has effectively tried to control the content by framing an analysis and perspective not intended by the programmer or the original program.

Shaw Cable has refused to respond to questions from these community media or other organizations regarding the precise CRTC regulations or Broadcasting Act sections that permit such censorship. A Kafkaesque situation exists where programs are edited because a complaint has been made, apparently to the CRTC, but, the nature of the complaint is withheld because the complaint is before the CRTC. On other occasions, programs are censored before being broadcast. On all occasions, the nature of the complaint is not provided nor is any appeal process made available. Whether or not CRTC regulations or the Broadcasting Act permit such censoring, Shaw is assuming the role of grand inquisitor.

The community programs that have been affected have been produced by Working TV and Vancouver Community Television Association (VCTA). In the three instances addressed here, Shaw Cable refused to broadcast the programs without extensive editing.

In this letter I am addressing three programs all dealing with the political situation in the Middle East. The transcript of the required deletions and additional editorial comments is attached to this letter.

The first program was a taping by VCTA of a Seriously Free Speech panel held at SFU in May, 2008 to educate the public about a lawsuit brought by Canwest against individuals – alleged to have produced a parody of The Vancouver Sun satirising its support for the illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The second program was a taping by Working TV of a lecture given at UBC in January, 2009 by Dr. Norman Finkelstein, a renowned scholar and outspoken critic of Israel’s illegal occupation.

The third program was a taping by ICTV of a lecture given by Mr. Ronnie Kasrils, a former minister of the South African government and a renowned activist against racism and apartheid, at the Vancouver Public Library in March, 2009.

We are concerned about the actual deletions and editorial deletions as well as the lack of any defined process or possibility for the creators and programmers to defend their creations.

The Seriously Free Speech committee therefore asks for the following:

– the precise CRTC regulations and sections that permit Shaw Cable to arbitrarily censor programs submitted by community programmers,

– the precise sections of the Broadcasting Act under which the CRTC and Shaw Cable are operating; and

– an investigation into the conduct of Shaw Cable in demanding these deletions and a record of previous deletions and attempts to curtail community programming.

The Seriously Free Speech Committee began in February, 2008 – raising funds for public education and a legal defense of the individuals accused of producing a parody of The Vancouver Sun. It has since expanded its mandate to include public education on a broader range of attempts to suppress full discussion of the situation in the Middle East. As can be seen from a partial list of our honourary members, we have broad support for our campaigns. A full list of honourary members and extensive documentation on our activities is available at www.seriouslyfreespeech.ca

I look forward to a prompt reply to our requests.

Sincerely

Brian Campbell and Anne Roberts
Co-Chairs, Seriously Free Speech Committee

cc:
The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages
Mr. Pablo Rodriguez, Liberal Opposition Critic for Canadian heritage and Official Languages
Mr. Charlie Angus, NDP Opposition Critic for Heritage and Cultural Issues
Mr. Peter Bissonnette, President, Shaw Communications, Inc.,
Ms. Karen Kilba, Shaw Communications, Inc.
Mr. Tom Sandborn, Board of Directors, BC Civil Liberties Association
Ms. Beth Davies, Chairman, Intellectual Freedom Committee, BC Library Association
Mr. Julius Fisher, Working TV
Mr. Pedro Mora, Independent Community TV

1. SERIOUSLY FREE SPEECH – MAY 14, 2008

A panel at SFU downtown organized by the Seriously Free Speech Committee to inform the community of a lawsuit launched by Canwest against Mordecai Briemberg for allegedly producing a parody of the Vancouver Sun in June 2007 satirizing their support of Israeli’s illegal occupation of Palestine. The program was taped by Pedro Mora and an edited version was prepared for Independent Community TV for broadcast on Shaw cable.

The panel consisted of Mordecai Briemberg, Leo McGrady (QC) – lawyer for Mordecai Briemberg, Muarray Dobbin – journalist and Martha Roth representing Jews for Just Peace and was chaired by Anne Roberts, co-chair of Seriousl Free Speech and a former Vancouver City councillor.

Below are the edits demanded by Shaw TV followed by Pedro Mora’s submission to the CRTC. Pedro Mora was not to identify Shaw as the source of the editorial comment or excising.

Karen Kilba, Shaw TV, wrote

beginning approx. 22:51 in

Mordecai Briemberg (MB) comments on events beginning June 6, 2007 when he attended an event and picked up some copies of a newspaper parody of the Vancouver Sun left on a table @ the event, and distributed them the next day; Canwest (CW) launched a lawsuit against him 6 months later. In MB intro comments he quotes Israel Asper (IA) comments in an interview in the Jerusalem Post in August of 2003: ‘in all our newspapers we have a very strong pro-Israel position … we are the strongest supporter of Israel in Canada.’

immediately following the above intro comments, please add editorial commentin graphic format as follows:

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Since the death of Israel Asper, Leonard Asper and others have managed Canwest and maintained the pro-Israeli editorial position.

beginning approx. 33:16 in

MB continues … ‘CW lawyers stated that they have no documents to support their accusation that I had anything to do with the creation and publishing and distribution of the parody, yet I am the central person they are accusing as responsible for creating, publishing and distributing an undetermined # of the parody. It is not surprising CW cannot produce any documents demonstrating my involvement with the publishing of the parody because I had nothing whatsoever to do with imagining, writing, designing, financing, publishing this parody.’

immediately following the above comments, please add editorial comment in graphic format as follows:

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Mr. Briemberg admits “publishing” in one legal sense of the word, in that he admits that when he found copies of the parody he passed them out to others. When he says he did not publish, he means he had nothing to do with the creation of the parody. He did pass out copies.

beginning approx. 38:33 in

MB concludes … ‘ Because I am devoted to defending and enhancing a democratic culture, I’ve not changed my public expression of opinion or activities since this legal suit was launched against me (clapping). Since CW launched the suit I have been energetic in helping organize a pubic forum for the (Elan Papa-check spelling), the Jewish-Israeli historian and author of a very important book called ‘the ethnic cleansing of Palestine’. Since CW launched the suit I’ve been energetic in helping publish a full page ad in two Canadian papers with signatures of respected Canadians declaring we cannot celebrate the 60th year of the founding of Israel. Since CW launched the suit I have been enthusiastic in participating in a public demonstration solemnly marking the massive injustice of the 60th year of the dispossession of Palestinians from their lands, homes and villages, and I have every intention of continuing this same work (clapping). Fear may be the emotion that prompts CW’s legal suit, but fear is no way to defend democratic culture … and my second comment recognizing that you, like I am confronted by a corporate giant with immense resources, great power, albeit with declining authority I believe, I want to observe that the more of us who involve ourselves in defending a democratic culture, the less vulnerable any one of us is to vendettas. Like a bully in a schoolyard with one kid in his grip, when the other kids stand back, the bully feels emboldened and thirsts for more victims. A bully in a schoolyard with one kid in his grip and others approaching him telling him to let go, feels disempowered and looks for a way out. Together and only together can we succeed.’

These concluding remarks will need to be removed from the program. (Emphasis ours)

SUBMISSION TO THE CRTC from Pedro Mora

Grievance to CRTC about Community Television Regulations.

The hierarchical, autocratic, business model management which CRTC allows cable television operators is oppressing and restricting the potential, input from community television producers.

First, there is no CRTC requirement from cable TV managers to fairly distribute the cable levy to all producers, so grass roots independent community producers get no financial support.

Second, cable companies, with CRTC’s approval, are given absolute authority to regularly and unilaterally preempt any number of community programs to give preference to sports tournaments or charity fundraisers.

Finally, the latest and most unfair management imposition by Shaw TV in Vancouver is the refusing to broadcast a program entitled “Seriously Free Speech”… unless the independent producer would insert three Shaw TV’s comments (attached below FYI).

We, the producers of this program, reluctantly included Shaw TV’s comments adding “Shaw TV management” as the source of those comments:

The program was rejected by Shaw TV again, this time because according to their legal advice, we were not authorized to reveal the authorship of those comments.

The double whammy of this incident is that

…first, it happens to a program about freedom of speech; and

…second, that the management’s supreme authority is legally given by CRTC, (a commission supposedly representing the public interest), to cable company operators, (representing private corporate interests). So thanks to CRTC, private corporate boards have become the ultimate censors of public freedom of speech.

CRTC needs to enable, not exclusively cable corporations as is now, but community television associations, the right to apply for license to operate the originally intended “community channels” on cable television.

Pedro J. Mora – Vancouver Community Television Producer

2. RESOLVING THE ISRAEL-PALESTINE CONFLICT – JANUARY 21, 2009

Dr. Norman Finkelstein was the featured speaker in this program organized by the UBC Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights and Coloured Connected and introduced by photographer/activist Jon Elmes. Dr. Finkelstein is the author of five books and many articles. It was taped by Julius Fisher of Working TV and divided into three segments for broadcast on Shaw. After the first segment aired, there was one complaint resulting in the demand for editing outlined below. The edits were implemented using a ‘beep” over the requested edits.

On 2/19/09 2:48 PM, Karen Kilba of Shaw TV wrote:

TO: Slim Evans Society

Attn: Julius Fisher

Julius:

We have completed additional review of the three-part Working TV series of the Dr. Norman Finkelstein presentation taped January 21, 2009 @ UBC.

The episodes in the three-part series may air with the noted adjustments:

series title

although it is lengthy, we would suggest (not require) that it might provide additional context for viewers if the full title (see poster below) was included in the show graphics, i.e. ‘What We Can Learn from Gandhi – Resolving the Israel-Palestine Conflict’, rather than the shortened ‘Resolving the Israel-Palestine Conflict’

speaker comments

please see transcript and recut requirements related to wording detailed below for episodes 1 and 3

editorial comment

the episode(s) may include the following editorial comment (graphic only) at the beginning and/or the end of the episode(s) only: The complete presentation by Dr. Norman Finkelstein may be viewed at our website: www.workingtv.com/

technical issue

our technicians noticed there was digitizing occurring throughout the programs so you may want to double check this

Further to your request to review the customer complaint regarding the show(s), please be advised that Shaw customer complaints and comments remain confidential. We are able to paraphrase the viewer concerns as indicating that the show speaker’s comments and opinions qualify as hate rather than political analysis and expose Jewish organizations and the Israeli population to hatred and contempt.

Thank you for your attention in this matter and please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

Karen Kilba, Shaw TV, Shaw Communications Inc.

Shaw Tower, 900 – 1067 West Cordova Street, Vancouver, B.C. V6C 3T5

email: karen.kilba@sjrb.ca ph: 604.629.3110 FAX: 604.629.4231 www.shawtv.com

(Slim Evans Society) Working TV (each episode listed as 27:30)

What We Can Learn From Gandhi – Resolving the Israel-Palestine Conflict – 3 part series taped January 21, 2009 @ the University of British Columbia and sponsored by Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR UBC) & Colour Connected, this labour focused series presents an episode featuring comments by political scientist and author Dr. Norman Finkelstein, about the recent Israeli attack on Gaza, with an intro by journalist/activist Jon Elmer.

transcript and recut details

Episode #1 of 3

approx. 6:00 in

… this evening is the background to the Gaza massacre. I’m not trying to use that language for its’ incendiary value, but I don’t think it can be properly described as a war when the ratio of those killed is 100 to 1. By any reasonable standard what we witnessed the last couple of weeks was a massacre or slaughter. It can’t reasonably be called a war, if by war we mean an exchange of fighting between two sides. So I will be referring to it as a massacre, a bloodbath, a slaughter, however it works into my remarks …

Bleep first three underlined words

Bleep underlined words in final sentence, or remove this section of comments

approx. 7:55 in

Israel is a Spartan like society. It’s consumed by revenge and bloodlust. Killing Arabs is a sure crowd pleaser and the opinion pools show during the duration of the attack in Gaza, about 90% of the Israelis’ supported it, and so those who sought re-election, not surprisingly, would think of killing Arabs as a way to garner votes.

Bleep or remove underlined sections of comments

approx. 21:50 in

… to Israel’s chagrin and humiliation, the US opted out (of a planned Israeli nuclear attack on Iran in 2008) and went its merry way + Israel’s deterrence capacity, it’s capacity to terrorize the Arab world into submission, it slipped another notch. It was high time to find a defenseless target to annihilate. Enter Gaza, Israel’s favourite shooting gallery.

Bleep or remove underlined sections of comments

approx. 24:57 in

… the operative plan for the Gaza bloodbath is seen by looking @ the authoritative statements released by Israeli officials as the massacre got under way. A reserve major general said – what we have to do is to act systematically with the aim of punishing all the organizations that are firing the rockets and mortars, as well as the civilians who are enabling them to fire and hide …

Bleep underlined words

approx. 25:52 in

… it was a real success, we can’t dispute that. Whereas Israel killed a mere 55 Lebanese during the first two days of the Lebanon war in 2006, the Israeli media exulted @ Israel’s – what they called ‘shock + awe’ as it killed more than 300 Palestinians in the first two days of the attack on Gaza. Was it an accident several days into the slaughter an informed Israeli strategic analyst wrote – the idea of Israeli defense forces which planned to attack buildings + sites populated by hundreds of people, did not warn them in advance to leave, but intended to kill a great many of them, + succeeded. A sometime historian and full time propagandist, Benny Morris, he could barely contain his pride of what he called Israel’s highly efficient air assault on Hamas …

Bleep underlined word

approx. 27:58 in

… as Israel targeted schools, mosques, hospitals, ambulances, UN sanctuaries, as it flattened entire neighbourhoods, as it slaughtered + incinerated Gaza’s defenseless civilian populations, Israeli commentators gloated that – quote – Gaza is to Lebanon as the second sitting for an exam is to the first, a second chance to get it right, and this time Israel had hurled back Gaza – not 20years as it promised to do in Lebanon, but into the 1940’s …

Bleep or remove underlined section of comments

Episode #3 of 3

approx. 8:50 in

… Mr. Ignatieff, the carpet bagger from Harvard … he says, Israel has the right to defend itself, Hamas is a terrorist organization.

Bleep underlined word

approx. 11:59 in

… Bernie Farber, the head of the Canadian Jewish Congress, he issued a statement … he’s appalled, he’s shocked, he’s filled with repugnance, disgust, because he saw a demonstration … an Israeli flag was being burned … but 400 Palestinian children incinerated … that doesn’t concern him … only an Israeli flag being burned in a demonstration …

Bleep or remove underlined section of comments

approx. 16:00 in

… the horrific crimes being committed by what’s becoming a satanic state (referring to Israel) …

… (talking about his positive outlook) … Jewish liberal defection … last Jewish worldwide backing for state massacre

Bleep underlined words

approx. 22:30 in

… that’s what that Satanic state has turned into … Genghis Khan with a laptop

Bleep underlined word

approx. 28:50 in

… and finally put a stop to that lunatic state (speaking of Israel)

Bleep underlined word

3. RONNIE KASRILS LECTURE – MARCH 8, 2009

Ronnie Kasrils is a noted politician, activist and former South African cabinet minister. His talk, sponsored by CanPalNet and the UBC chapter of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, was held at Vancouver Public Library as part of the 5th annual International Israel Apartheid Week (March 1 – 8, 2009). Mordecai briemberg and Mike Mullen made introductory comments on behalf of their respective organizations. The program was taped by Pedro Mora on behalf of Vancouver Community Television.

Shaw cable demanded the following edits:

Karen Kilba of Shaw TV wrote:

TO: Vancouver Community Television Association (VCTA)

Attn: Pedro Mora

Pedro:

We have completed additional review of the (VCTA) Pasifik.ca episode 

Apartheid: from South Africa to Israel. The episode may air with the noted adjustments:

speaker comments

*please see transcript and recut requirements related to wording

detailed below editorial comment (if episode is available on line)

*the episode may include the following editorial comment (graphic

only) at the beginning and/or the end of the episode only: The complete

program may be viewed at our website: www.pasifik.ca

Thank you for your attention in this matter and please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

Karen Kilba, Shaw TV, Shaw Communications Inc.

Shaw Tower, 900 – 1067 West Cordova Street, Vancouver, B.C. V6C 3T5

TRANSCRIPT

Please delete (bleep) the identified wording below

approx. time in

3:41

(Mordecai Briemberg intro comments): … that’s a small example of

the anger that has arisen @ Israeli atrocities

all remaining comments by Ronnie Kasrils

34:24

… (speaking of Zionism) … of an ethnic cleansing project that goes

back to 1947/48 and continues to this day … so again, if we fail to

make the proper assessment of Zionism …

37:40

… (speaking of British MP, Gerald Kaufman, long time friend of Israel)

… he said this woman (spokeswoman of the Israeli Defense Force) talks

exactly like a Nasi (Nazi?), so we’re not saying it’s a Nasi (Nazi?)

state, but you see there are measures that they use and there’s a

mindset which makes us, again it reminds us of what happens to humans

when they allow themselves this form of self righteousness … and now

for me, one of the most revealing statements that I’ve come across from

the annals of Israeli history was made in 1948, the first minister of

agriculture in Israel (can’t make out name – web search indicates Aharon

Zisling <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aharon_Zisling> ) after the

(can’t make out name-may be Deir Yassin) massacre was revealed in which

240 men, women and children were just butchered by the (can’t make out

name) terrorist group of (sounds like Fata + the Stern gang-see

background below) … now we too have behaved like Nazi’s and my whole

being is shaken …

45:20

… (speaking of white prosperous + it’s effects) … now what manner of

people will use this kind of weaponry against other human beings, and

this is where I’m optimistic in the end about human nature, but we’ve

seen from apartheid in S. Africa how decent human beings can be so

bombarded from birth through the whole socialization process in their

home/schools/military that in the end they will dance when they hear

about the hundreds who are perishing, which is what’s been happening in

Israel …

56:50

… when you had Palestinians living within the north in the (galelie?),

demonstrating, marching in the street against the butchery in Gaza …

episode overview

(VCTA) Pasifik.ca (listed as 59:00)

Apartheid: from South Africa to Israel a global justice focused series. This episode features comments from a keynote address by South African politician and activist Ronnie Kasrils taped at an event at the Vancouver Public Library on March 8, 2009 during the 5th Annual International Israeli Apartheid Week (March 1-8, 2009). The program includes introductory remarks by representatives of the event co-sponsors: Mordecai Briemberg of the Canada-Palestine Support Network and Mohammed Mullen of the UBC chapter of Solidarity for Palestine Human Rights. (VCTA now.polling spots air throughout).

originally scheduled to air beginning March 28 (2009)

Note: some shaky, roving cam; audio change when speaker moves to podium

(approx. 47:30)

Response from Pedro Mora, 
Pasifik.ca Editor

Dear Karen,

I do understand that Shaw TV management has the prerogative to broadcast or reject community programs according to a set criteria. However, I don’t understand the reason why I should edit out the segments, you and Shaw’s lawyers, have identified.

It would be helpful if your lawyers would explain how Ronnie Kasrils’ speech is infringing on CRTC’s broadcasting regulations. Our “Freedom of Speech” lawyers might be able to clarify with CRTC this puzzle for the benefit of all VCTA supporters.

I will postpone your requested adjustments until we understand the reasons for censoring it.

Looking forward to hearing from your lawyers.

Pedro Mora 
Pasifik.ca – Editor