Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Yesterday CJFE joined over 400 organizations across Canada in blacking out our website for the day in support of Black Out Speak Out. Why? Because we are profoundly and increasingly concerned by the government’s attempts to silence its critics. CJFE chose to darken our website to protest the federal government’s attempts to control discussions about climate change and the environment. As documented in our annual Review of Free Expression in Canada, the federal government has muzzled its scientists, restricting their abilities to speak freely about their research and engage with the media. Since 2008, when the new communications policy was put in place, climate change stories in the media have decreased by 80%. Additionally, threats of funding cuts and heightened rhetoric have resulted in a chill in free expression amongst civil society groups who fear to speak out against government policies. The Black Out Speak Out campaign began with environmental groups coming together against specific federal budget cuts proposed in Bill C-38, but the issue goes far beyond just funding or the environment. This is a free expression issue. This is about defending and promoting the free and open sharing of information and views expressed by a variety of voices. Simply put, an environment where information is withheld and dissenting opinions are suppressed is not a healthy environment.