March 28, 2022
The federal government must regulate the internet in Canada to curb Russian disinformation, as a federal ban on Russian-funded television does not go far enough, said Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly.
“We’ve banned Russia Today and Sputnik on the broadcasting side,” Joly testified at the House of Commons foreign affairs committee. “We’ve pushed digital platforms to also ban them but we need to do more.”
Blacklock’s Reporter said the Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) banned Russia Today from cable and satellite services on March 17. On February 28, Telecom companies had already pulled the English-language news service. Web content from Russia Today still remains online.
Two community groups, the Ukrainian-Canadian Congress and Estonian Central Council of Canada, have petitioned the CRTC to go further by blocking all websites and social media accounts of Russian state media.
“My mandate as foreign minister is really to counter propaganda online,” Joly said. She did not elaborate on what measures would be taken.
Joly made her remarks in response to a prepared question from Liberal MP Randeep Sarai (Surrey Centre, B.C.), who asked what Canada was doing to fight disinformation and Russian propaganda.
“In every war, information is key because it justified why you start a war,” Joly replied. “What we’ve seen since the beginning of this war, before the war, there was a big propaganda campaign.”
Joly said the Russians lied “to our face,” about whether they were preparing to invade Ukraine. “Afterwards they said that the reason they were sending troops to further invade Ukraine was to de-Nazify the country,” Joly said. “We know that Zelensky himself is Jewish.”