The Long Way

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April 30, 2021  

Free Speech and Broadcast Regulations (S03 E07)

April 30, 2021

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Feature Guest: Michael Geist, University of Ottawa professor and the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-Commerce Law

When the federal government introduced Bill C-10 to update broadcast regulations, here is the kind of headlines they likely didn't want:

CBC: Your free speech is at risk with Ottawa’s push to regulate online content, experts warn

National Post: Full-blown assault on free expression

Toronto Sun: Canada’s disturbing censorship conversation

Toronto Star: Uploads to social media could be regulated under proposed changes to Canada’s broadcasting law

You can add to all that one of the earliest outlets to cover Bill C-10 – the Ottawa-based, regulation, law, and lobbyist-watching hawk-eyes at Blacklock’s Reporter, which writes about the “enforcement of a YouTube censorship bill.”

The controversy around Bill C-10 stems from its broad reach to bring internet streaming services under the regulatory control of Canada’s broadcast regulator, the CRTC. That was controversial enough, but the recent move to take away the exemption for social media and content uploaded by individuals really got people talking.

So, The Long Way has gone right to one of the experts in the field to get the low-down on what wrong with Bill C-10 and why it should matter to all of us: Michael Geist, a University of Ottawa professor and the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-Commerce Law.

“Having the broadcast regulator treat all of this other speech, legitimate speech that is protected under our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, I think it has a chilling effect,” Geist tells The Long Way. “In a democracy like ours, we don’t speak with permission of the state.”

Geist goes on to explain just how badly Bill C-10 in its current form could erode fundamental freedoms in Canada.

Also, if you’ve been listening to The Long Way regularly, you’ll know that field reporter Peter Stockland looked into some aspects of the C-10 controversy in Episode 1 of this season. And before that – as early as February 2021 – he was reporting on it in Convivium, a digital magazine published by Cardus.

Want to know more?

Check out Michael Geist’s blog and his own podcast, Law Bytes.

And for a different analysis of Bill C-10, do check out this article from cartt.ca.

If you enjoyed this episode of The Long Way, don’t be shy about liking it or leaving a comment, or even subscribing or following this podcast wherever you heard it. Thanks for listening!

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