Compare and Contrast

Eric over at Off Wing Opinion juxtaposes the government investigation of Don Cherry's comments on CBC with the FCC investigation of Janet Jackson's Superbowl gig.

While both investigations are ridiculous, if the current head of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which is the Canadian equivalent of the FCC, wanted to investigate a Jackson-esque performance on primetime television, he would be powerless to do so. According to the obscentiy laws which govern broadcasts in Canada:

Generally, any material will be considered obscene, and therefore illegal, if it contains: sex coupled with violence; exploitive sex that degrades or dehumanizes any person, female or male; or explicitly sexual material that employs children in its production.

This definition of obscenity is a reflection of the secularism in Canada compared to the religious pervasiveness in the US. Canada's secularism dictates that the populace would mock an investigation such as FCC head Michael Powell's, rather than file a lawsuit seeking billions.

On the other hand, Canada's laws regarding Hate Speech are not as tolerant as America's:

Canadian law prevents the use of the media for the spread of hatred, particularly hatred directed toward identifiable groups.

While it is questionable whether Cherry is using his Coach's Corner pulpit to spread "hatred", or whether he is a hopelessly out-of-touch buffoon, he does have a track record of making public statements on CBC that are insulting to Europeans and French Canadians. While Cherry is technically a government employee (the CBC is a government-owned station in the mold of the BBC), I'm inclined to think that this investigation is merely spin doctoring by the CBC. Cherry is too valuable a commodity to be fired for comments that are not egregiously offensive.

The simple fact is that fewer people agree with Voltaire's line about free speech in Canada than in the U.S.

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About

Hi, I'm Kareem Mayan. I co-founded eduFire, an online video tutoring company.

I've done time at ESPN and FIM.

I advise WorldBlu, helping them build democratic companies.

I moderated a council for Creative Good.

And, I helped bring Barcamp, a technology un-conference, to LA, which is where I live. I am now living and working in cool cities around the world.

More about me.

Opinions stated here are mine alone.

Contact: blog -at- reemer

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