Freedom to Read Week 2016

Why We Still Need Freedom to Read Week

The following essay was written for a graduate seminar in the Master of Publishing program (MPub) at Simon Fraser University.
PUB 800 | Spring 2016

In the 21st century, citizens in developed nations seem to have more freedom to information than ever, yet this perception is problematic for several reasons. The most overt being that even though it appears free by world standards, especially in Canada, there are invisible forces affecting our daily access to information. Even in Canada, books are removed from shelves in Canadian libraries, schools, and bookstores, printed materials are banned at the border, and Internet overlords control what gets published and what is visible online. As much as we as Canadians and educated citizens want to romanticize the democratization of the Internet, we still need Freedom to Read Week to raise awareness. It’s not just about censorship and banned books within Canada, it’s also about raising awareness on a global scale, an especially pertinent point with the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership. With the freedom to read comes great responsibility—to literacy, to access, and to a diversity of voices and perspectives—which is integral to an engaged society and well-informed citizens.

(more…)