Joining TVOntario's The Agenda
20 September 2010, 20h00 EDT (GMT-4)
The Agenda with Steve Paikin
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I was deeply honoured when Steve Paikin and Dan Dunsky, respectively the host and producer of TVOntario's The Agenda, asked me to join the programme as one of three television essayists, for a new feature entitled "Agenda: Insight". Tony Keller, Carla Lucchetta, and I will each present one essay per month during the show, on a subject of our choosing.
The Agenda is TVOntario's flagship public affairs programme, and one of the few television programmes anywhere that preserves long-form journalism. At a time when the media has become a prisoner of sound bites, The Agenda commits each hour-long episode to in-depth analysis and meaningful debate on no more than two topics.
My maiden essay will be broadcast tonight, and is entitled, "The Rights of Vulgar Little Cowards". In it, I argue that freedom of expression is too fundamental a right to be casually abridged, even in the face of hateful speech. As a result, I believe that the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal should lose the power it currently holds under Section 13 of its Act to regulate online public expression, which in the internet era effectively means the power to regulate public expression itself.
The language I employ in the essay is occasionally harsh, and I realise that it will offend some viewers. I did not utter those words lightly, and if there are painful to hear, I can assure everyone that they were far more painful to speak. The words were, however vital to the point of the essay.
The Agenda will post video of my essay online after tonight's broadcast, and I will provide a link to it from my blog.
I am currently with Team Canada at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, so I will have no opportunity to see how the essay looks on the other side of the camera. I am hoping that viewers will send me their candid thoughts and constructive criticisms via e-mail. It would be good to know if my first broadcast essay swam or drowned!