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Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Wow, Score One For The CRTC

Alright, I'll admit it: I'm not always a fan of the folks over at the CRTC. There's been a host of questionable decisions that's come about in the last while, a lot of punting on decisions that should've been made.

But every once and a while, the CRTC gets it right -- and they deserve a solid high-five for it.

*Positive reinforcement, ladies and gents*

What'd they do? Well, they got up off the ground, brushed the dirt off their knees, and said 'Hell no' when it really mattered.

You see, there's this law here in Canada called the Radio Act that keeps firm headlock on our news agencies. The Act states, pretty simply, that: "a licenser may not broadcast....any false or misleading news."

A simple statement, to be sure, but it's one of the big reasons why we currently enjoy our Fox-Style News as an entertaining side-dish instead of the two-fisted main course that the US gets. We keep our media in check -- as we should.

So what's the deal? Why were people all in a fuss?

Someone wanted to 'loosen' the rules on 'reporting false or misleading information' in the news.

Now, who that 'someone' is, exactly, is still a matter of contention -- some whisper about interference from the PMO's office. Others say 'bah, this's been in the works for 10 years or more'.

Still, many can't help but raise an eyebrow at the co-incidence of the timing of the would-be decision's resurgence, that it follows almost hand-in-hand with the new SUN TV News (a new, uber-Conservative news network) -- and that, once again, this change looked like it was going to be snuck in under our noses.

From the article:

"Then, on Jan. 10, the commission announced it was seeking comments on a proposal to change the wording of the regulation to say that it applied only in cases in which broadcasters knew the information was false or misleading and that reporting it was likely to endanger the lives, health or safety of the public. The cut-off date for public input was set at Feb. 9.

The decision caught many people by surprise.

“We’ve looked everywhere to try to find out who’s pushing this, and we can’t find anybody,” said Peter Murdoch, the vice-president of media for the Communication, Energy and Paperworkers Union, which represents more than 20,000 journalists, including those at The Globe and Mail.

“It’s totally bizarre. Nobody in the industry has called for it,” Mr. Murdoch said. “Where is the motivation for change that would lower the standards of truth and fairness in broadcast journalism?”
"

This last Friday, the CRTC stepped up and said 'No' to loosening the language -- effectively keeping Fox New's... uh... bombastic... style... caged (where it belongs) on other side of the 49th parallel.

And, truly, that's fine by me. It's hard enough to get a straight word out of our government as it is -- imagine if they (and, well, everyone else with the $ to do so) were allowed to use the news to actively lie to us?

Anyways, I digress from my point.

Here's what I'd like you to do, if you'll permit me to put it out there:

Let's take a moment and write a positive letter to the CRTC for once. Thank them for getting it right. Let them know we're watching and we appreciate the effort.

It's not always easy to do the right thing, especially when the Prime Minister's Office is giving you swirlies and jock-strap wedgies behind the scenes... but they did and so here they deserve our praise.

Good Job, CRTC! Keep an eye on your mailbox 'cause there's a solid high-five in the mail from me.

Keep up the good work.

Cheers,
Brandon

P.S: And, hey, since you're on a roll, if you wouldn't mind helping us out with that whole Bill C-32 thing? I mean, digital locks... really?

C'mon...

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