Re: ANTHRO-L Digest - 6 Dec 1993 to 7 Dec 1993

Wed, 8 Dec 1993 10:01:57 EST

(Sorry, Anthro folks, I don't know why I lost the subject
line here.)

This morning Peter Gwoski (I think that name is not spelled
right somehow, do forgive), surely one of the most intelligent
of CBC radio hosts, opened his Morningside program with a
segment on the publication "ban" (his guests were willing to
call it a publication "delay", but Gwoski kept slipping and
calling it a "ban"). Peter usully presents a controversial
case by inviting well-matched guests who are articulate and
intelligent. This morning was no different.

His guests were Everett Dennis of Columbia University's Media
Relations Centre (I'm not certain of that full institutional
title) and Brian Greenspan, head of the Canadian Criminal Defence
Lawyers Association. Two salient pieces of information were
brought forth: a. juror selection systems are not the same in
Canada as in the US, and b. juries are not often sequestered in
Canada as in the US. The questions asked in jury selection is
restricted in Canada, and all questions are vetted in advance by
the trial judge. The impression given was that questions asked
jurors in the US are more free-form, unrestricted,etc. (Someone
may wish to comment here, I do not know.) The "delay" thus is
intended to aid jury selection and let them go home for supper
with their folks. Moreover, pre-trial instructions given by the
judge in Canada cannot be made known until the trial is concluded.

The points made by Dennis were the expected ones: borders are
porous; everyone recognizes the right of any country to set its
laws and run its courts as it chooses, but that doesn't mean
other folks have to agree and/or support these laws; nobody
supports Iran's condemnation of Rushdie for example; and worse
yet this is causing Canada a great deal of international embarrassment.

The points made by Greenspan were the usual ones: Canada's-cultural-
sovereignty; US domination of media, and etc. I tend to stay clear
of all questions that are likely to sequed into "cultural autonomy"
matters for the very good reason that I hold two passports and can
argue with felicity either side of any issue--I do vote everywhere
"early and often" as we used to say in New Jersey. Nevertheless, my
ears pricked when I heard Greenspan say, and I quote: "A person
ought not to be accepted as a juror because they're precisely the
type of person who wants to formulate an independent opinion in
advance rather than one based on evidentiary procedure." He went on
explain that in his view seeking information was "wanting to form
an independent opinion" and...further noted he rather felt
the media had brought this (the "delay") on themselves because
(BECAUSE, she notes) they had covered the arrests so well the week
week they occurred..!

I now see the Star Chamber possibilities: "delays"could also extend
to reporting arrests, perhaps?

time for another cup of coffee, I think...

Maureen Korp, PhD
University of Ottawa