Blog

Apr 8
2021

UNWANTED QUESTIONS: Skepticism, not objectivity, is what makes journalism matter


Democracies need reporters who follow their curiosity, ask uninhibited questions, and tell unwelcome stories. 


By Ivor Shapiro / Posted Thursday April 8, 2021

Freedom of the Press

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Mar 25
2021

Free Expression on Campus: Assessing the Alberta Ministerial Directive


In the last provincial election, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney joined other Conservative politicians that have purportedly become stalwart defenders of free expression on campus. Details I have obtained through access-to-information requests tell a very different story. But first, some background.


By Dax D’Orazio / Posted Thursday March 25, 2021

Academic Freedom

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Mar 4
2021

Teaching in the Shadow of Conspiracy Theories


Some years ago, a high school history teacher I know told me that he had received an essay that supported Holocaust denial. The student, who was told to use primary and secondary sources in his research, cited his grandfather. Grandpa had been in the army of an Eastern European country and had assured his grandson that the Holocaust was a hoax. He had seen Auschwitz. It had a swimming pool. It was actually like Club Med, reported Grandpa.


By Danielle S. McLaughlin / Posted Thursday March 4, 2021

Teachers & Students Speech Rights

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Feb 23
2021

What have we learned from the Sidewalk Labs saga? Smart city plans in Toronto


What lessons have been learned for Canadian smart-city governance from the long-running Sidewalk Labs saga? 


By Mariana Valverde / Posted Tuesday February 23, 2021

Co-written by Alexandra Flynn

Smart Cities - Connected Communities

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Feb 1
2021

Violent Hate Groups Must Be Held To Account — Using Rights-Violating Anti-Terrorism Laws Isn’t The Way To Do It


The violent attacks on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on January 6th were, in large part, a culmination of four years of a political regime that incited violence and hatred based on racism, white supremacy and xenophobia.

In the aftermath, governments, law enforcement and the public are searching for ways to hold the perpetrators accountable and ensure such violence isn’t repeated, even as threats of similar mob violence on inauguration day rise.


By Tim McSorley / Posted Monday February 1, 2021

Speech Restrictive Laws

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Jan 26
2021

Ugly voices (continued): can we turn down the volume?


When extremists grab the spotlight, journalists face tough news choices. The question isn't free expression. It's how to do needed reporting while avoiding amplification. A consensus is forming on how to tread that line.


By Ivor Shapiro / Posted Tuesday January 26, 2021

Freedom of the Press

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Jan 14
2021

Why We Defend Nasty Speech


I don’t know about you, but I am not fond of humour that is aimed at humiliating or degrading individuals, even if those individuals are public figures. It is one thing to point out the foibles of people’s actions and another to make fun of someone’s appearance or other characteristics that are immutable. I am truly over racist, sexist, and body-shaming humour.


By Danielle S. McLaughlin / Posted Thursday January 14, 2021

Artistic Expression, Censorship

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Dec 9
2020

Ugly Voices: What's the Point of Covering Hate?


It’s a 44-year-old story that no self-respecting news organization anywhere would publish today—certainly not in the form it took. 

And is that a good thing?


By Ivor Shapiro / Posted Wednesday December 9, 2020

Censorship, Freedom of the Press

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Nov 18
2020

It’s Complicated: Six Things Worth Discussing About Free Speech


Well, hello again. Having ended last month's column with a candid appeal for readers to "talk back" about free speech, I was grateful to those who took me at my word. They made me think new thoughts, which is, of course, the whole idea.


By Ivor Shapiro / Posted Wednesday November 18, 2020

Artistic Expression, Censorship, Freedom of the Press

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Nov 12
2020

Freedom of Information, Universities & Transparency: Lessons from Emily Eaton and the University of Regina


Access to information (ATI) is animated by a simple principle: the public ought to know. Despite governments unfortunately tending towards secrecy and risk-aversion, a free flow of information is absolutely vital for democracy. ATI, then, is an important democratic safeguard, to mitigate the negative predilections of government and ensure a robust state of public discourse. ATI legislation first emerged in Sweden in 1766, but it wasn’t until the postwar era that it began to flourish in a number of other liberal democracies.


By Dax D’Orazio / Posted Thursday November 12, 2020

Academic Freedom, Government & Corporate Transparency

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