Shaw bans video of peace activist author's book reading

VICTORIA, B.C. -- "Program Our Way to Fight," the record of an evening with Canadian author Michael Reardon recently hosted by the Victoria Chapter of Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) Canada, is being censored by Shaw Cable in Vancouver.

Pasifik.ca, who recorded the event and wishes to release it as an independent community program, has received an email saying that Shaw TV cannot broadcast the video of Our Way to Fight: Peace-work Under Siege in Israel-Palestine by Michael Riordon, as it is too "unbalanced" and "controversial."

Shaw Cable is the community-cable arm of Shaw Communications, one of Canada's largest telecommunications corporations. Based in Calgary, Alberta, it controls telephone, Internet and television networks, including digital satellite, and broadcasting stations from Hamilton, Ontario, to Victoria. As a federally licensed community cable network, Shaw Cable is required to air locally created programming.

Author Michael Riordon is concerned about Shaw censoring community programming. "We desperately need principled, courageous independent media like Pasifik.ca, and people who care deeply about freedom to defend our fundamental rights," he said.

IJV Victoria Chapter member Stuart Hertzog, who sits on the national Steering Committee of IJV Canada, is concerned about the implications of Shaw's actions.

"This attempt by Shaw to censor free expression of social and political views, does not bode well for the future of media in Canada," said. "Corporate control of media in Canada is now excessive."

"Shaw Vancouver's decision also reflects on the dampening effect on democratic freedoms produced by the uncritical support of Israeli government policies by the Stephen Harper Conservatives," he added.

"If this repression of free speech is allowed to grow, we will soon have left behind the kind of democratic society that most Canadians want -- peaceful, equitable, and free," Hertzog concluded.

Background information
---------------------------
The program can be viewed on the IJV Canada website at:
http://ijvcanada.org/chapters/victoria/

and on YouTube at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxGUJtWVSpo

Read Michael's reaction on his blog at:
http://mywaytofight.wordpress.com/2012/02/04/79-our-way-to-fight-banned-in-bc/

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