Jian Ghomeshi: ban on Tweeting election results “sadly outdated”

Cole Carruthers, Yeamrot Tadesse, Jian Ghomeshi, Aakanksha Tangri at CBC Studio Q

by Yamri Taddese

April 29, 2011 —

CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi said the ban on tweeting federal election results on May 2 “does not make any sense.”

Elections Canada wants a blackout on all electronic transmission of results to areas where polls have not closed yet. The decision comes out of concern that results from one part of the nation could influence voting in another.

“It’s like trying to shutdown Napster,”said Ghomeshi, during an interview with Centennial College journalism students Tuesday,

With more than 53,000 followers on Twitter, the Q host and former member of Moxy Früvous band is active on Twitter.   Ghomeshi said the online world cannot be suppressed.

“The idea that some government organization is going to police everybody on the Internet and say, ‘You can’t tweet the results’ is insane.

“It’s a law that’s steeped in history and it’s kind of sadly outdated.”

With the groundswell of support for the NDP and leader Jack Layton, and peaked interest by university students in vote mobs, the broadcaster believes Canadians are demanding a better way to make Ottawa work, especially with better representation of all Canadians in Parliament.

He isn’t clear what the best solution would be, be it the first past the post system we use now, or proportional representation or some other form of democracy.

Having grown up as a person of Iranian descent in mostly white and conservative Thornhill, Ontario, Ghomeshi said Canada has come a long way since his childhood days.

“When I was a kid, it was just after the Iranian Revolution happened and Iran was seen as this enemy country,” he said.

At the time, coming to terms with being a minority young man took some time, Ghomeshi said.

“I lamented the fact that I was different, I wished that I didn’t have a big nose, a brown skin and all the things that come with being a non-Anglo white person.”

While  a freshman in York University, Ghomeshi was aware of the 1991 movie titled Not Without My Daughter, which tells the story of an American woman who goes to Iran with her Iranian husband and their daughter for a visit. Despite the woman’s protest, her husband decides the family should stay in Iran. He then uses Islamic laws to torture and threaten her until her escape.

The movie, Ghomeshi said, helped him recognize racism, and sparked him to embrace his identity .

“I went from being in denial to coming out of the closet ethnically,” he said.

A changed Canada, coupled with waves of immigration from Iran and other parts of the Middle East,  has made it possible for a Ghomeshi to be accepted, for the most part, as just a “guy in media.”

Now with a radio show that has gained the highest ratings for that morning time slot in CBC history, and legions of followers through social media, Ghomeshi’s opinions have a broad audience, and not just of “latte sipping post grads.”

His Twitter followers can expect tweets from him on election night as well.

But careful ones.

He’s not sure he can even retweet other people’s results posts without breaking the election law.

“I will be tweeting, I’d imagine, but I won’t be tweeting [election] results until I’m allowed to just because I’d be too easy to target,” he said.