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Send an urgent message to Canadian legislators urging them to stop more online censorship laws

OTTAWA (LifeSiteNews) – Canada’s official broadcast regulator might soon be producing draft rules for a pre-election “code of conduct” for newsrooms, which includes print and online journalists, thanks to the recent passage of federal internet censorship laws, an idea that has been blasted by some senators as an affront to freedom of the press.

On Wednesday, members of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet wrote in a legal notice that the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) may look at regulating “the following areas,” those being newsrooms, by the creation of a “code of conduct (and) a complaint process pertaining to how groups of eligible news businesses are to be structured and their conduct under the Act.”

As per Blacklock’s Reporter, Canadian Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge claimed earlier there would be no political interference at the CRTC, a fact that was disputed by Senator Pamela Wallin, a former broadcast journalist.

Trudeau’s Online News Act, or Bill C-18, became law in June 2023 despite warnings that it would end free speech in Canada. The new law forces social media companies to pay Canadian legacy media for news content shared on their platforms.

Bill C-18 now compels Google to give Canadian newsrooms $100 million a year from its ad revenues. Legacy media journalists are projected to have half of their salaries paid by the Liberal government after the Google agreement and the subsidies outlined in the Fall Economic Statement.

While the Online News Act was only recently passed, the actual implementation of it is still in the works, and within it is a little-known clause, 27.1.b.iv, which says newsrooms that want Google money must demonstrate full compliance with a “code of ethics.” This “code” was not defined, however, and Canada has no such national code of newsroom ethics.

According to CRTC executive director of broadcasting policy Scott Shortliffe, the agency still must “get precise on that.”

“It puts frankly a bit of an onus on us to define that,” he said at a May 2023 Senate transport and communications committee meeting.

Shortliffe added that there should be “clear definitions,” and they should “neutral in how they apply,” and should not “be written in such a way they either include or exclude a particular kind of news organization as long as that news organization can show it is a credible news organization.”

He did not say who would determine what a “credible news organization” is.

Senator: ‘State’ should not be ‘regulating the ethics of newspapers’

Senators took issue with both the independence of the CRTC and the idea that the government of the day would try and regulate newsrooms.

“I am told by sources close to the matter there is almost daily contact between the leadership of the CRTC and the Minister’s office,” Wallin said to the committee.

Senator Paula Simons, appointed by Trudeau, said that any kind of government-mandated newsroom code of ethics was “anathema to a lot of print journalists who do not believe the government, the state, the Crown should in any way be regulating the ethics of newspapers.”

However, National Council officer Rizwan Mohammad claimed that having media “regulate themselves has just not been working as effectively as it should be.”

“It has led to spikes, especially during election cycles, of targeting ethnic and religious minorities,” claimed Mohammad, who added that existing kinds of mechanisms that have been “put in place to offer remedies for people to correct errors and attempt to have balanced coverage or content about an issue when there is legitimate disagreement about things are just not working.

Simons shot back at Mohammad by saying, “Are you actually calling for regulation of the free print media?”

In reply, Mohammad said that there must be “a clarification in the bill that imposes real consequences upon those who appear to be in breach of that code of ethics.”

As it stands now, the Trudeau Liberals have already pushed forth bills that will regulate the Internet such as the aforementioned Bill C-18 as well as the federal government’s censorship Bill C-11, the Online Streaming Act, which has been blasted by many as allowing the government more control of free speech through potential new draconian web regulations.

According to a recent study by Canada’s Public Health Agency (PHA), less than a third of Canadians displayed “high trust” in the federal government, with “large media organizations” as well as celebrities getting even lower scores.

Large mainstream media outlets and “journalists” working for them scored a low “high trust” rating of only 18%. This was followed by only 12% of people saying they trusted “ordinary people,” with celebrities garnering only an 8% “trust” rating.

Send an urgent message to Canadian legislators urging them to stop more online censorship laws