14 January 2009

CRTC - Guarding the Gate of Western Propaganda

The Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission approves of Fox News.

It doesn't approve of Al-Jazeera.

Therefore, television viewers and radio listeners in Canada cannot see or listen to news from the Arab world other than as filtered by Western media - such as Fox News.

Apparently, the illustrious personages of the CRTC fear that Canadians might be done irreparable harm if they were subjected to Al-Jazeera news reports. Such care for Canadians' moral health and fortitude does not extend to the propaganda spewed forth by the likes of Bill O'Reilly.

Al-Jazeera is a Qatari-based broadcaster and winner of dozens of international news and current affairs awards. It has more bureaus than CNN and BBC.

In 2004, the CRTC "approved" distribution of Al Jazeera’s Arabic service, while slapping draconian restrictions on companies that distributed it. They would have to monitor it and delete anything that could be construed as "abusive content." That was like inviting a person to speak, then placing a muzzle over his mouth. Predictably, no distributor would take on that expense or risk. So, no Al Jazeera in Canada.

Just three months later, the CRTC approved Fox News for Canadian distribution with no restrictions at all, despite the fact that some might construe much of what comes out of the mouths of Bill O’Reilly and Ann Coulter as "abusive content." Asked about the apparent double standard, a spokesperson for the CRTC says, "We take each application on a case-by-case basis. We do not compare cases."

For myself, I can't count the number of times I've been reminded of one correct decision I made: to cancel my Shaw television service, to give away my TV and to get all my news online.

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