Saturday, July 13, 2013

Sometimes You Have to Hold Your Nose

Recent controversy over the parodying of the "Don't Be That Guy" posters against sexual assault have found their way into the Edmonton Public Library. The group claiming responsibility for the "Don't Be That Girl" posters, Men's Rights Edmonton (MR-E) has been called into question for the campaign in recent days. It recently caught the attention of some Edmontonians using Twitter that MR-E plans on hosting a lecture on boys in education at the Stanley Milner branch of the library.

In response to concerns expressed on Twitter, EPL cited the Canadian Library Association (CLA)'s Position Statement on Intellectual Freedom:

The ensuing conversation debated whether or not MR-E can be defined as a hate group, which would make it exempt from coverage by the CLA's statement. Certainly, this is debatable; however, at present, MR-E has not been designated as such in Canadian law. Thus, the group is still afforded protection under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and by extension by the CLA.

Whether you agree with the group's message or not, regardless of how offensive you may find it, part of the library's mandate is to provide a space where there is freedom to speak -- and the room for debate.