TORONTO (Oct. 22)
The National Joint Community Relations Committee of the Canadian Jewish Congress and B’nai B’rith have protested to the Canadian Radio, Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) about the number of radio stations which have placed their “hot-line” or “open mike” programs at the disposal of a small self-styled Ku Klux Klan unit in Toronto.
The protest, in the form of a memorandum, noted that some of the stations which provided air time for KKK representatives were CHIN and CKEY in Toronto, CKOC in Hemilton and CHEX in Peterborough, all in the province of Ontario. In at least one instance, a talk show on CKEY with a KKK representative was rebroadcast to Western Canada on a hook up and calls were received from Western Canadian points, the memorandum noted.
According to the memorandum, CHOK in Sarnia was so encouraged by its open line interview with a KKK representative “that three days later it scheduled an avowed neo-Nazi, Martin Weiche of London, Ontario, to appear on the same program.” The show was cancelled, however, because of protests.
FREEDOM IS NOT LICENSE
Radio station owners, their aides and lawyers contended that the interviews complied with free speech. The memorandum agreed that “As a community and as Canadians we can flourish best in an open society which enjoys political democracy and freedom of speech and discussion. This does not, however, mean giving license to propagandists to disseminate hatred between various classes of citizens and non-citizens. That is the road to debasement of the political coinage.”
The memorandum concluded by noting that “the radio stations hold their licenses as a public trust. We appeal to the Commission to ensure that this trust is lived up to in a responsible manner.”
A similar point was made by Rabbi Jordan Pearlson, chairman of the National Joint Community Relations Committee, who presented the memorandum to the CRTC. He told CRTC members that no radio station would be permitted to let a drug addict give explicit instructions on how to use narcotics, yet hate mongers are allowed free rein on the talk shows.