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Canadian Journalists for Free Expression breaks human rights campaign

Toronto-based Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, in collaboration with the National Council of Canadian Muslims, has begun an out-of-home advertising campaign in Toronto focusing on human rights issues. The campaign is intended to raise awareness of anti-democratic hate groups in Canada, particularly anti-Muslim groups, which claim that Canadian hate speech laws are an infringement of free expression.

The six-week initiative consists of billboard ads in the Toronto Transit Commission system. The creative depicts section two of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the Arabic language, accompanied by the English-language copy, "These Rights Belong to All of Us." Section 2 of the charter sets out Canadian rights to freedom of expression, press, religion and association. According to the organization, the concept for the campaign has been adapted from a billboard ad developed by Emergence Creative of New York and run in the US by the American Civil Liberties Union. This ad depicted the first amendment of the United States Constitution translated into Arabic, Spanish and English.

"Human rights belong to all of us," said Ihsaan Gardee, executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims. "This campaign is an important way to reinforce our cherished fundamental rights and freedoms and to show that everyone in Canada is protected by them."

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