Canada Free Expression Government Censorship

The CRTC must not be given power over user online speech

Bill C-10 must be rejected by Parliament to defend freedom of expression in Canada

April 29, 2021 — Last week at the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage’s reading of Bill C-10, “An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act”, the federal government proposed and passed an amendment that would make all user generated audiovisual content on online platforms subject to the regulatory powers of the CRTC. 

Bill C-10 had previously included an exception in clause 4(1), which excluded user-generated content posted to such services from the Act.

“Bill C-10 must be voted down. Empowering the CRTC to regulate individuals’ posts to the Internet under broadcast regulation is an existential threat to the open Internet in Canada,” said OpenMedia Campaigns Director Matthew Hatfield. “The videos, podcasts, pictures and memes that would come under CRTC regulation under the revised Bill are not ‘programs’ being ‘broadcast’; they’re the individual expressions of people in Canada. Giving the CRTC any powers to limit, censor, or manipulate the terms of our freedom of expression is completely unacceptable.”

Hatfield continued, “The government’s decision to save enormous changes in scope and powers to this late stage of the Bill shows an effort to sneak them past Canadians without anyone noticing. But many thousands of people have noticed, and we’re outraged that our government is trying to take so much power over our speech without consulting us! At this point, the Bill is completely unsalvageable. Bill C-10 needs to be wholly thrown out, and replaced with an appropriately broad public consultation to determine how best to support and promote Canadian cultural production through new platforms and technologies. Trying to shoehorn the digital world into a 20th century broadcasting framework is doomed to fail, and will only produce continued misfires like this one.”

OpenMedia’s campaign calling for MPs to vote against Bill C-10 has sent more than 8,000 messages to MPs in its first 24 hours.

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