Dont let the truth get in the way of a good story


This was brought to my attention recently and I was asked to comment on it.

There are changes proposed to the broadcasting standards that would take affect is Sept of this year. There is a lot of confusion as to what these changes mean.

Especially with the sub section regarding false or misleading news.

Currently the regulation states simply:

“5. (1) A licensee shall not broadcast

(d) any false or misleading news.”

They want to change it to:

“5. (1) A licensee shall not broadcast

(d) 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 word here is AND

It does not say ‘false, misleading, OR that endangers..etc.’ Worded this way it can be legally interpreted to mean you are allowed to broadcast False and misleading news AS LONG AS IT DOES NOT endanger the lives health and safety of the public.

Interpreted this way it has the potential to be easily corrupted. Unverified rumours or opinions could be broadcast as News, as long as it doesn’t cause a panic. So simple things like “a political party said attempted to increase taxes by 50% but was stopped by another Party from doing so” or in blatant cases ” The Prime Minister today brought more peace and prosperity to the People of Canada than they have ever had before” or ” The danger presented by the Political Party Y was removed today by the fast thinking of the X Minister of Defense.”

In short it opens the door to abusive propaganda broadcast as news.

To some this is simply a simply wording and they understand the spirit the section is to define, but others see it as more sinister, providing an opportunity to violate the spirit of the law while conforming to the letter of the law.

I leave it to you to decide your own path in this matter, but would ask you to reflect back over the last few years and think, has any political party or person redefined the letter of a law to violate the spirit of a law to gain advantage? Perhaps to call an election?

for those interested:

to see and comment on the proposed changes: http://crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2011/2011-14.htm

Current wording: http://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/SOR-87-49/page-1.html

Sorry, but I don’t know of any informational protest sites.

Dan O’Neail

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