More from the CRTC: Abandoning truthful broadcast journalism
With the momentum and outrage that has been building up behind the CRTC’s ruling to give our monopoly telecommunication companies the approval to implement usage-based internet billing as of March of this year, another blow to the social fabric of Canadian communications is lurking quietly in its shadow. In this case, the CRTC is trying to ease up on a ban that states that broadcasters “shall not broadcast any false or misleading news“.
How, you might ask?
The CRTC would like to loosen the regulation to only ban “any news that the licensee knows is false or misleading and that endangers or is likely to endanger the lives, health or safety of the public.” The key operative is found in the word “and”. Namely, “… false or misleading AND that endangers… lives, health or safety of the public.” It’s such a small word and seemingly small amendment, but the consequences are monumental. What this means is that the law only applies to broadcast news that may endanger lives, health or public safety – broadcasters can’t provide false or misleading information within those parameters. Anything else? Fair game…
Like for example, maybe… an upcoming federal government election, perhaps? The smear campaigns are already all over the airwaves.
The other interesting note is that this comes only a month or two before the launch of a new television station, Sun TV News, that is expected to be a close cousin to the infamous FOX News found in the United States.
Not unlike the usage-based billing ruling, this proposed change is also being done quietly and without much public attention. As a Canadian, I’m again disappointed that our government and CRTC – both governing bodies that have been put in place to represent the interests of Canadians – seem to be working so hard against us.
The good news, is that the CRTC is accepting “comments” from the general public through their website around this proposed amendment up until February 9, 2011. That’s a week away. It also means it’s not a done deal yet. I’d strongly encourage you to submit your comment on the site. Someone has also taken the liberty of creating a petition for the change as well, which is only around 600-strong at the moment. You can also sign the petition.
Information is power, and integrity of information is one of the most empowering tools we have as Canadians. The foundation of our democracy rests on it. To undermine that foundation is the erosion of our democracy towards more government controlled information. We have a word for that in marketing. It’s called propoganda.
If you’re interested in reading more about this topic, you can find more information on it in the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, or this blog post that alerted me to the proposed policy change in the first place.
An added note: I’ve noticed, not without a touch of irony, that the CRTC site seems to be down at the moment.
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