Earlier this month, the Canadian Radio-television and
Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), without fanfare, posted on its
website a potential game-changer in the world of broadcast journalism.
The CRTC is seeking to relax restrictions concerning the broadcasting of
specious information on radio and television.
Currently, the law stipulates that broadcasters “shall not broadcast any false or misleading news.”
Sounds reasonable enough — and straightforward — as it should, since it concerns the integrity of news reporting.
But not apparently to the CRTC. It is proposing to soften the
regulation, banning “any news that the licensee knows is false or
misleading and that endangers or is likely to endanger the lives, health
or safety of the public.”
In short, with the new wording, broadcasters could air false or
misleading news with impunity, provided that it does not endanger the
lives, health or safety of the public.
Unfortunately, the CRTC does not specify who will judge whether or not such disinformation poses a danger.
This is not set in stone yet. It is a proposed change. To submit comments on this to the CRTC: