Review of the Article Public Libraries and Freedom of Expression by Danielle S. Mclaughlin

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In the article, Public Libraries and Freedom of Expression by Danielle S. McLaughlin, she tries to bring up one of the considerations for the Freedom of Speech by questioning “Should we expect our public institutions to protect our freedom of expression?” quoted from opening paragraph of the original text Public Libraries and Freedom of Expression.

The writer is talking about the controversial decision made by Toronto Public Libraries (TPL) in the year 2017. TPL permitted memorial to late Barbara Kulaszka former Librarian, also a lawyer who was known for defence of White supremacists and Holocaust deniers “Barbara Kulaszka gained fame (or notoriety) for her defence of such neo-Nazis as Marc Lemire and Ernst Zundel. She edited Zundel’s infamous “Did Six Million Really Die?” and collaborated with Doug Christie whose Canadian Free Speech League gave her their “George Orwell” award. ” Quoted from middle-bottom of the original text from the writer which claims how the controversial lady (a former librarian and defence lawyer) got the nobility. Later, in the same paragraph she also states that Paul Fromm, who spoke at memorial were the kind of people of similar views. According to Ms. McLaughlin arises the question on the purpose of staff member being present at the memorial. On one extreme she had to ensure that no laws and regulations were broken including the laws against the hate speech, however; on the other extreme writer was concerned about what would it be like speaking for an individual who had once defended the White supremacists and Holocaust deniers. As quoted in the second paragraph by Ms. McLaughlin, “Charging a person with public incitement of hatred, or willful promotion of hatred requires the consent of the Attorney General of Canada”.

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The writer did also put forth her issue that if the library staff member was capable enough to recognize such offences, and to differentiate between the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In the middle of the original text, the writer mentions The Toronto Public Library’s “Underlying Principles” in which library made clear what were the expectations from the public. The TPL also while talking about the Ancient Library of Alexandria, their importance in the society with changing environment and made proficiently clear that TPL only asked people not to disturb others but to keep their views and beliefs to themselves. The writer then asked in sarcastic manner if TPL also warned toddlers for making noise, or ones who call others with unpleasant names, and or individuals who threw cookie crumps on floor: whether they were given written warnings. At last, the writer wrote about her two concerns she had about the event and its consequences.

Firstly, she talked about the understanding the public should have regarding the libraries that is it public space. She also said, “libraries have cannot use prior restraint when they decide who can use their facilities. We should all understand, that once people have agreed to abide by the library’s rules of conduct, the library is content-neutral on what is said in that rental space. ” She supported her argument by putting the forth the words from Bowles’s CBC interview, “denying access to people based on their views ‘… not only contravenes the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the principles of intellectual freedom, but it also contravenes the cornerstone of the library’s mission and values. ’

Secondly, she talked about A. Alan Borovoy’s (General Counsel of The Canadian Civil Liberties Association) response, when Zundel was charged for the false statements. Borovoy, with The Canadian Civil Association fought for the freedom of Expression as an unconstitutional limit, which they won. “This cost Borovoy friends support from some Jewish communities, ” from second-last paragraph of original text according to the writer. She also mentioned what Borovoy said regarding the people whose hateful speeches magnetized the world in wrong direction, “they should have been allowed to wallow in the obscurity they so richly deserve. ” In the words of Borovoy.

Summarizing this, I would like to stand in favour Danielle S. McLaughlin, one should have full Freedom of Expression, and not constrained buy and public facility organization itself.

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