Media

CRTC to Allow False, Misleading News

By Mark Richardson
Published January 17, 2011

The CRTC is about to do the unthinkable and give approval for radio and television news to lie to Canadians by "easing ban on broadcasting false or misleading news". It was with utter amazement that I read the following in the Hamilton Spectator:

Current regulations contain a blanket prohibition on broadcasting "any false or misleading news."

The Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission wants to considerably narrow the scope of that prohibition.

It is proposing a ban on the broadcast of "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 CRTC quietly posted notice of the proposed change, which is slated to go into effect on Sept. 1, on its website last week. The agency is accepting comments from the public until Feb. 9.

This is a joke or false news itself ... right?

I cannot in polite words properly convey my complete opposition to this motion. Why would any falsehood be allowed? How is that different than false advertising?

So a media outlet with a bias can report falsely and cause confusion in the public - how is this of any benefit to any Canadians?

I don't care to hear how the CRTC plans to spin this motion as a good thing. I expect elected representatives to oppose this out of common sense and a love of what is good in this country.

I hope RTH readers are as shocked, disturbed and offended by this CRTC action as I am and voice opposition to their MPs as well.

Mark Richardson has lived in Hamilton since 1993. He is a Stationary Engineer and is one of Hamilton's many Industrial Nomads. He currently is employed at US Steel.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 17, 2011 at 08:19:51

The CRTC also recently bent to Bell's wishes to cap and bill based on bandwidth for wholesale leases of the phone lines. This means that all of the smaller DSL companies are basically going to struggle to stay in business as bell jacks their bills up and forces them to pass the cost on to the consumer.

Critics of this move suspect that the influx of pay-for-stream media companies (netflix for example) are a major cause for this. The "old boys" used to operating under a virtual monopoly are losing control of the revenue stream for digital content. The only "safe" move for them is to make the data transfer itself expensive.

While other progressive countries are seeing deeper penetration of high speed data networks and lower bandwidth costs, Canada just took a huge step backwards with artificial limitation and price inflation.

Who exactly is the CRTC looking out for?

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 17, 2011 at 09:49:52

I see where you're coming from with this Mark. What you say does seem to make sense for sure.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 17, 2011 at 10:39:36

I was shocked when I saw this as well, particularly as we are poised to get a Fox News North station, 'cause you know, it's worked out so well for the US.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted January 17, 2011 at 10:42:34

So who decides what is "false" or "misleading"?

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted March 13, 2012 at 00:41:35 in reply to Comment 56610

The people with the guns decide what is true and what isn't.

What's wrong with that?

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By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted January 17, 2011 at 11:00:52

"That ain't workin'/That's the way you do it"

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted January 17, 2011 at 11:35:00

Canada, the place which re-makes the same mistakes as America, only two decades later. :P

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By MountainCreature (registered) | Posted January 17, 2011 at 11:44:16

Jesus... And this at a time when the American media finds itself questioning whether misleading news and violent rhetoric may have caused a disturbed individual to shoot a congresswoman in the back of the head.

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By Dave (anonymous) | Posted January 17, 2011 at 11:48:31

Which email can we use to contact the CRTC about this?

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By PseudonymousCoward (registered) | Posted January 17, 2011 at 11:53:58

If you are not already familiar with the Jame Akre / Steve Wilson incident, take a few moments to check it out.

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By R Don Lyres (anonymous) | Posted January 17, 2011 at 12:29:20

You are still entitled to your own opinion. It's just that now you are (legally) entitled to (purchase) your own facts.*


*Offer valid as long as you use an accredited mainstream media agent to disseminate them.**

**No actual purchase is required. It is acceptable to make payment in the form of advertising accompanying the commissioned editorial content.

On second thought, this may not be that big a change. While this development formalizes the process of systematic large scale dissemination of false information to the masses, this new regime is a progression of what we already have.

Someone is going to argue that this is all John Stewart's fault.

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By GodHelpUs (anonymous) | Posted January 17, 2011 at 13:08:44

Please contact the CRTC (google) and register a complaint. I just did and it took about 2 minutes.We already have a news network that is less than honest and the lifting of a ban on false news will kill Canada. We are getting FOX North paid for by big right wing leaning (tory in other words)business. We already have news reporters who do not aspire to be the best reporter but instead aspire to be senators!
God Help Us!

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted January 17, 2011 at 14:20:47

Legislating truth is impossible. Legislating "truth" as seen by a bunch of government bureaucrats never works. It's just censorship. And censorship never serves truth, only power.

If the CRTC has been enforcing this ban, then how has CHML managed to keep its license?

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By patcon (registered) | Posted January 17, 2011 at 21:38:16

@Undustrial

They're not legislating truth. They're allowing the networks to decide what might constitute "misleading", which is great, because they are the best judges of. It encourages them to self-police, which is something we should push for. But hey, if they started defining what "misleading" meant, then I'd be worried. Let the courts decide should charges ever be pressed. That's the time to get upset -- if the legislation is being perverted. Can anyone give one instance of a story being killed because of this? You SHOULD be confident of a story's truth before publishing -- that's what responsible journalists do -- or else you're just an amateur blogger! (And that's NOT meant to imply anything about this blogger.)

I am overall very happy with how our networks conduct themselves, and I for one can't see any good coming out of this removal. Have you ever even heard of this legislation preventing a real story from being told? Or being abused to shut down a story? Why are we striking it down then? Our media climate compared to that of the USA is amazing.

PS, this blog could really use a Disqus comment module :)

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By patcon (registered) | Posted January 17, 2011 at 21:39:06

Oh hey, anyone have a link to the original announcement. I want to see the source before I call the CRTC, but it's tough to track down. Yay open government.

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By patcon (registered) | Posted January 17, 2011 at 21:51:57

Here's the official announcement, by the way: http://crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2011/2011-...

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By Speaker (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 09:31:35

I am not plotically active for these sort of things but this is nuts. Who stupid thinks it is good idea?. Even a 5 year old will not endorse it. The people who domintaed the Media in US have already used these news time to time to spread haterd against others and Canada will not be saved. Startr with Fox north (sun) purchase. Our PM is alrady sold out to US desire. I remember there was a news (fabricated ofcourse) that Iranian Parliment has asked all the jews to ware Red Caps to make then in pubic and our PM went on to condam it right away..

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted January 18, 2011 at 11:39:35

There is simply no wording of a single part of CRTC policy which decides whether broadcasters are honest or not. Those who are would never knowingly post false news under any circumstances will not begin now. Those who would will always have loopholes anyway. This kind of policy lends itself to abuse. The CRTC is not free of its own biases and obligations to its sponsors, either.

Who saw their licence threatened over the myriad lies spread during the invasion of Iraq? Many of us personally went over these facts time and again with reporters, and they refused to print it. Their commitment to "unbiased reporting" and "official truths" meant that pointing out the obvious glaring inconsistencies in the "official story" was inappropriate, even when people like Hans Blix and the Pope were doing it too. John Pilger's recent documentary, "The War You Don't See" gives a lot of insight into this.

If the CRTC really wants to promote truth in news, they can stop letting these companies consolidate into Fox-style media empires. Any one point of view broadcast that way to millions will be fraught with these problems. The solution isn't better policing of media empires, it's allowing actual opposing viewpoints and contrasting facts.

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By jayvee (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 21:38:19

Given that since any news story that one actually has first hand knowledge of is usually wrong in some salient respect and/or detail, and given that a survey of family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues invariably mirrors this abysmal performance, it's clear that a ban on "false news" effectively shuts down the Canadian broadcast media.

It's no surprise, therefore, that the state-sheltered tool of the beloved oligopoly would desire to redefine falsehood.

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 22:02:22

This should be good news for ChCh, the Spec and the RTH site..

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By Kaja (anonymous) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 20:31:33

All this is Bulshit by CRTC I would say this is an other act of politions to suck as much blood from the publik and make another way of easy money for the Government. To implimenting this act is like blocking them for taking a fresh breath. As some immigrants and people says about ontarion is a Police state. which is truch. Ha ha ha and they call it a free country

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By 2bhonest (registered) | Posted January 22, 2011 at 20:36:53

No matter what laws are passed, if you believe what you hear/read without question, you are a fool. 'Individual thought' will soon be a oxymoron.

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By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted January 23, 2011 at 15:41:59

Quote: "It was with utter amazement that I read the following in the Hamilton Spectator:"
The irony of that statement was not lost on me.

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By shawntheweaver (registered) - website | Posted March 13, 2012 at 00:03:57

Is the news network pulling any strings from behind the scenes? Are they thinking of increasing their viewership by increasing the bumber of sensationalist news stories and news that contain falsehood? Why is the government backing them up?

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By rjyourwood (registered) - website | Posted March 14, 2012 at 05:13:37

Such a move makes it no different for us to just get our news fix online instead of through the radio, which is deemed more reliable by most of us. I will be appalled if nothing is done about this, as it is promoting sensationalistic news instead of factual reporting.

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