Defamatory op-ed in Vancouver Sun about Iranian Canadians

Vancouver Sun published a defamatory op-ed by Douglas Todd on December 31, 2016. Here is the complaint letter from the ICC Board to the Editor in Chief of the Vancouver Sun regarding this op-ed: 

Kind Attention: Mr. Harold Munro, Editor in Chief at The Vancouver Sun

Dear Mr. Munro,

 

This letter is regarding an op-ed by Douglas Todd published by your paper on December 31st 2016, entitled “Iranian-Canadians still fear theocratic regime” which the Iranian Canadian Congress considers to be discriminatory. The op-ed asserts, based on claims by unidentified sources and without providing substantial evidence, that members of the Baha’i faith are “harassed by some non Baha’i Iranians in Canada” and that “a significant portion” of Iranian- Canadians are “anti-Baha’i.” Todd himself writes that he is unable to find any Iranian-Canadian Baha’i “who will talk on the record about persecution in Canada,” though this does not prevent him from making defamatory remarks like these about the Iranian-Canadian community. In fact, the Director of Public Affairs of the Baha’i Community of Canada, Dr. Gerald Filson, indicated to us that he attempted to discourage the publication of Mr. Todd’s op-ed, asserting that his sweeping claims about the community were not accurate.

As his evidence, Todd makes reference to interviews with two Iranian-Canadians who express concerns that “recent” immigrants from Iran “are more religiously extreme” than those who left Iran in the 1980s. The publication of these cherry-picked comments as fact are divisive, irresponsible, and constitute discrimination against recent arrivals from Iran and against the community generally. Moreover, the fact that the Sun has decided to publish these views points to an unfortunate willingness by your paper to serve as a platform for defamatory and discriminatory remarks about a minority ethnic community.

Considering the rising tides of discrimination and Islamophobia in Canada and the world, the publication of Mr. Todd’s unsubstantiated and biased op-ed is doubly irresponsible as such rhetoric can serve as a tool to create divisions amongst Canadians and weaken the multicultural spirit of our country on the eve of its 150th anniversary. News outlets such as yours have an ethical responsibility to ensure that your reporters and journalists do their research and due diligence and prevent the publication of baseless and divisive claims not only in its articles but also in the op-eds it chooses to publish.

The Iranian Canadian Congress therefore requests that the editorial board of the Vancouver Sun attempt to rectify the issues that we have pointed to above by printing this letter as an op-ed in the same manner in which your outlet published Mr. Todd’s piece.

 

Sincerely,

Board of Directors,

Iranian Canadian Congress


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The Iranian Canadian Congress is a non-profit, non-partisan and non-religious organization established in 2007 to represent the interests of Iranian-Canadians and encourage their participation in Canadian society.

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