EDITORIAL: More Liberal online censorship? | #socialmedia


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The last thing Canadians need is even more attempts to censor and regular their social media. Yet the Liberal government is once again hinting they’re going to do just that.

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Experts already have their concerns about a controversial piece of legislation now known as Bill C-11.

“There was great uproar [when the bill was first introduced] that the government was planning to censor Canadians’ social media,” we wrote last month. “While the government denied this, experts maintained the bill would have that very effect.”

Law professor Michael Geist explained in a blog post that’s appropriately headlined “not ready for prime time” that: “for all the talk that user generated content is out, the truth is that everything from podcasts to TikTok videos fit neatly into the new exception that gives the CRTC the power to regulate such content as a “program”.

This new bill means your online posting may soon be subject to government censorship.

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Last week, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly appeared before a House of Commons committee to discuss Russian disinformation.

It’s well known that President Vladimir Putin uses information warfare. This is true whether it comes to manipulating the narrative around the war in Ukraine or just pushing Russia’s talking points.

Canada is pushing back — such as how the Canadian Radio‑television and Telecommunications Commission has banned the station Russia Today (also known as RT) from being offered in Canada.

What does this have to do with domestic censorship? Good question.

We don’t think it does. We think you should be able to push back against Putin’s misinformation while still safeguarding Canadian free expression.

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Yet Joly offered some chilling remarks that suggest the Liberals may use the invasion of Ukraine as a pretext for their domestic agenda.

“Social media companies need to do more,” Joly said at committee. “They need to make sure they recognize states have jurisdiction over them and that they’re not technology platforms but they’re content producers.

“It is our way collectively to make sure that we can really be able to have strong democracies in the future because this war is being fought with 21st century tools including social media.”

That’s quite a stretch — to suddenly switch gears from Putin to talking about all social media.

Canadians should be concerned.

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