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Heritage minister walks back comments on licensing news organizations

February 2020

Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault in an interview on CTV’s Question Period on Sunday that the government will consider the 97 guidelines set out by the expert panel, requiring all companies that deliver “audio, audiovisual, and alphanumeric news content” to Canadians be regulated by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) or another body, through a licence or registration.

After facing swift and harsh criticism, Guilbeault walked back the comments just one day later, stating that the government had “no intention to impose licensing requirements on news organizations,” nor will the government “regulate news content.”

Minister, you’re not going to censor free speech and citizen journalists. Yes, journalists should be accountable for what they say, in words or in visual media, and fake news shouldn’t be tolerated. However, there is a big difference between totally false reporting and a news story with which you simply disagree. In other words, who gets to decide what should be reported? We already have hate laws on the books, if that’s the worry regarding alternative or citizen media, so why do we need to “licence” news outlets?

Directly related to the licensing issue, the minister make reference to, “…if you’re a very small media organization the requirement probably wouldn’t be the same if you’re Facebook, or Google.” But there would still be a requirement for some kind of licensing?

This is a very dangerous road for the Trudeau government to be going down, and even those who may be supporters of his government should be very scared of any such attempt to legislate and licence news and commentary. Today, it may be conservative views; tomorrow it may be your views and opinions that are effectively, or actually, censored.

Sources: https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/licensing-for-media-companies-in-canada-would-likely-be-proportionate-heritage-minister-1.4792838, https://www.thepostmillennial.com/breaking-heritage-minister-retreats-from-licensing-all-news-media/?fbclid=IwAR3zTyirJ2gdHXJ4RnXfRgWZynpqKaR9MLqIv2atnGj9NtZ7Sl8P81EwPos, https://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/lilley-trudeau-walks-away-from-regulating-media?fbclid=IwAR3-3ReFivTN8s1IkpZqvvj-uFdSwogtdBzazhz-xNjPNr_CiBVcB36TVgE

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/heritage-minister-walks-back-comments-licensing-news-organizations/

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