Journalist Charged for Expressing Opinion

ThoughtCrime: 07/25/95
Published: 1995-07-25

"Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime IS death."
George Orwell

An overflow crowd packed a July 25 hearing of the British Columbia Press Council to back a North Shore News columnist in a hearing into a complaint by retired Simon Fraser University professor Lionel Kenner about five columns Collins wrote in 1993 and 1994.

(It is these same five columns that the Canadian Jewish Congress has lodged an official complaint about in a parallel action before the B.C. Human Rights [sic] Commission under the notorious gag-law Bill 33.)

The complainant, Kenner, "said five Collins columns concerning the Holocaust were designed to mislead. That, he said, contravenes the first B.C. Press Council Code of Practice, which states, 'newspapers must guard against deliberate or careless publication of inaccuracies or statements designed to mislead.'

Collins, who readily agrees that he disputes the endlessly repeated concentration camp death toll of six-million Jews, countered by saying he believes he recorded everything honestly. Collins "I have not ever consciously selected something in order to distort the story."

"Kenner [also] charged that North Shore News publisher Peter Speck and editor Timothy Renshaw either carelessly published or colluded with Collins in publishing misleading statements. But for Renshaw, the case boils down to press freedoms. 'The News has never said that Mr. Collins is right or wrong on the issue of the Holocaust, merely that he has a right to express an opinion and the right to be wrong,' said Renshaw.

"While a number of people showed up to support Dr. Kenner, including Alan Dutton of the B.C. Organization to Fight Racism, the majority were backing Collins. A half-dozen held signs with supportive messages for Mr. Collins and free speech.

"[When] Doug Collins took the floor, he spoke of attempts to limit freedom of speech and attempts to have him removed as NSN columnist. 'Complaints to the press council usually concern an item of alleged inaccuracy or a newspaper's failure to give a person space to make a reply. But that doesn't apply here. The dispute is about history. And history is subject to a thousand interpretations.' Mr. Collins asserted that, 'The complaint is totally in line with the views and wishes of the Canadian Jewish Congress, a pressure group that is prominent in the propagation of its view of what is known as the Holocaust'".


Adapted from: The Northshore News July 26, 1995 and Western Jewish Bulletin, July 28, 1995 .


Additional information about this document
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Author(s): CODOH News
Title: Journalist Charged for Expressing Opinion, ThoughtCrime: 07/25/95
Sources: The Northshore News July 26, 1995 and Western Jewish Bulletin, July 28, 1995
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Published: 1995-07-25
First posted on CODOH: March 5, 2000, 6 p.m.
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Comments: About Doug Collins
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