Canada Refuses To Allow False News On Airwaves
Score one for honesty in journalism.
After the public discovered that the Conservative Harper government was attempting to change the rules that prevented media outlets from broadcasting false or misleading news, their reaction was swift and decisive.
No freaking way.
The Harper government was quietly attempting to change this rule to make broadcasting false news illegal only in cases where it could be proven that the broadcaster “knew” the news was false prior to broadcast. Coincidentally – or not – the change was being discussed just in time for the launch of a brand new right wing television news station in Canada.
Sun News, the brainchild of Harper’s former chief of staff Kory Teneycke, promises to bring “hard news and straight talk” to Canadians. The network, nicknamed “Fox News North,” was expected to provide vitriolic political rhetoric and right-wing attacks in much the same vein as Fox News in America.
Based on the outcry from Canadians who were uncomfortable with giving media outlets a get-out-of-jail-free card for broadcasting false news (“honest engine, we thought it was true!”), as well as with the timing, The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) last week abandoned the attempt to change the wording. Given the push to make the change seemed to be politically driven rather than publicly driven, the CRTC appears quite willing to let the matter die.
Sun TV is still expected to launch on schedule in the spring of 2011. How this decision will affect their planned approach to news reporting is as yet unclear.
Photo credit: BGilliard on Flickr.