March 30, 2022
-The Counter Signal
On March 30 at 2:00 p.m., the Canadian government will table Bill C-11, the Online Streaming Act, which, if passed, will enable the government to further control what media Canadians see on social media.
Confirming many fears, the bill will not just target entertainment content in Canada, but will mainly focus on “news content” and how the content is spread on social media.
Today, Justin Trudeau’s Minister of Heritage announced the tabling, calling it “An Act respecting online communications platforms that make news content available to persons in Canada.” Sounds harmless, right?
According to the Bill, search engines, like Google, will be required to boost news organizations that promote “racialized communities, cultural and linguistic minorities, LGBTQ2+ communities, and persons with disabilities.” Consequently, non-compliant news publishers not focusing on such progressive topics will be punished by receiving lower rankings in searches.
Trusted organizations like The Counter Signal, True North, Rebel News, and The Post Millennial will be shuffled to the last page of search results.
As Law professor Michael Geist points out, “In my post today, I make the case that the government’s defence of Bill C-11 has been “cartoonishly misleading.” Assurances that only companies are regulated or that platforms will choose how to contribute mislead on the bill’s implications.”
“Yesterday, Liberal MPs:
- Assured the House that digital first creators were outside Bill C-11
- Effectively admitted they were in but claimed would be excluded by a still-secret policy direction
- Dismissed creator concerns as “YouTube talking points.””
Yesterday, Liberal MPs:
1️⃣assured the House that digital first creators were outside Bill C-11
2️⃣effectively admitted they were in but claimed would be excluded by a still-secret policy direction
3️⃣dismissed creator concerns as “Youtube talking points” 2/2https://t.co/StGI476Ceb
— Michael Geist (@mgeist) March 30, 2022
Of course, the Trudeau government is trying fruitlessly to spin this as a positive action, one that will help “oppressed communities,” and “strengthen trusted news sources in Canada.”
In reality, this is more tyrannical action to boost ideologically friendly content and punish critical news organizations.
In a somewhat goofy video, Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez tells Canadians what Bill C-11 is supposedly intended to do:
- Make it easier to find Canadian stories and music.
- Support Canadian artists and create jobs.
- Support racialized and Indigenous creators.
- Make more accessible content.
- Make sure streaming services contribute to Canadian culture.
— Pablo Rodriguez (@pablorodriguez) March 29, 2022
According to Rodriguez, all this will do is make Facebook and Google promote more Canadian news organizations and content creators. Obviously, that is not the whole truth.
The question is which Canadian news organizations will be promoted? And the answer is, of course, government-approved news organizations.