It's scary. Sun TV is set to start off sometime soon. Sun TV is Harper's propaganda channel, sort of like Fox News in the States. It was supposed to be obligatory for all cable companies to provide it and for public funding to support it, but people got up in arms around it and quickly shut that one down.
So now they're going after the journalism laws. They want to change it so that journalists are allowed to broadcast or report information that they know to be false. If that doesn't scare you, then sit back for a second and think about it. If this goes through, we won't be able to trust any news source again. It'll be pretty hard to discern truth from lie.
Also, it will be easy to publicize propaganda, as well as almost impossible to keep an eye on the government. That's one of the main jobs of the media, by the way. Letting the public know what the government is doing in their name.
At the same time as all this, CBC news is suffering staff and funding cuts. No biggie, right? Well, essentially, since radio and TV have now been combined, there's no competition between the two, which means it's more regulated from the top, which means there's a lot less independent journalism going on. Which means, we don't get as much information and it's much more selective.
The Harper government isn't stupid. It's so clever, it's scary. Really scary. It's surreptitious and doesn't seem to be related, because it doesn't seem to all be happening at once or in relation to one another. Even though it is. Which is what gives them away.
Oh. And they have a little sub-clause in the proposed amendment to the journalism laws that says the misleading or incorrect information can only be reported if it's not obvious that it will directly harm anybody. Pretty thin protection, if you ask me. Anyone with a good legal mind can argue that they didn't know it would harm someone, at least not directly.
Avaaz has this to say: "The proposed changes to regulations protecting Canadian airwaves would require any complaint to include proof that the broadcaster knew that the news was false AND that the lies spread could endanger the lives, health or safety of the public -- so a journalist could tell any lie they liked as long it didn't kill or sicken anyone. Proponents within the CRTC are claiming that this change is in reaction to a Supreme Court decision, but that ruling was made fifteen years ago and has almost nothing to do with TV news standards.
Television news is regulated by the CRTC precisely because news that spreads lies degrades public discourse and destroys the ability of Canadians to cast an informed vote. These kinds of lies may not directly threaten our lives or personal security, but they do threaten our country and our democracy."
Sign the petition here: http://www.avaaz.org/en/canada_fair_and_balanced/?cl=944297857&v=8398