July 16, 2022
The CBC will appeal the CRTC’s censure of CBF-FM and two Radio-Canada radio hosts in the N-Word controversy following a public backlash in Québec and demands from Premier François Legault and Radio-Canada journalists to take the CRTC to Federal Court.
The CBC press release announcing the appeal is a marvel of craft: the public broadcaster issues a full throated apology but states categorically the CRTC has no right to tell journalists what to say. CBC lawyers may have difficulty convincing a federal judge that the protections of journalistic independence in the Broadcasting Act go that far, but they still have a good case that the CRTC erred in completely ignoring that legislative provision in its decision.
On Mediapolicy.ca I completed my two-part analysis of the CRTC’s renewal of the CBC licence which was released just before the N-Word decision. I argue the Commission made hasty and unnecessary regulatory changes that may leave the public broadcaster’s programming (especially local news) vulnerable to slash and burn from a hostile government.
For some added perspective on public broadcasting, Press Gazette published a good summary of the BBC’s annual report. Although the BBC is better funded and more commercially successful than the CBC, it is unloved by the current Conservative government and so is trying hard to demonstrate its fiscal responsibility.
Bill C-11 is on summer hiatus but the Washington Post’s J.J. McCullough is spending some time video-campaigning among his fellow Canadian YouTubers to put public pressure on the Senate and the Liberal government to exempt their creator community from the legislation. The lad is a communications genius but he has key facts about the Bill wrong which required me to blog a response.
The Heritage Minister’s expert panel on regulating Online Harms submitted its final report that leaves the government with some complex policy choices to make. Pollsters at the University of Saskatchewan released their findings on public attitudes towards freedom of expression that may encourage the government.
Lastly, Postmedia ended its holdout and became the last major Canadian publisher to accept Google’s terms for a deal providing syndicated news to the Google News platform. Its not clear if this impacts Bill C-18, the government’s “FaceGoogle” compensation-for-online-news-content legislation. This is a global story that Press Gazette follows diligently, so expect something soon from them.
On the topic of Postmedia, it is worth checking out Canadaland reporter Jonathan Goldsbie’s tweet chain beginning with National Post columnist Rex Murphy’s unhinged attack on Canadian journalists caught on video (at the event where Convoy organizer Tamara Lich violated her bail conditions) and ending with National Post Editor in Chief Rob Roberts asking extremists to stop abusing his reporters.