The Liberal government is moving ahead with its plans to enact government regulation of online media.
According to Blacklock’s Reporter, amendments to the 1991 Broadcasting Act are imminent.
The proposed legislation comes on the heels of a report by the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislation Review Panel which recommended that internet news outlets should be registered with a government body.
“I will be tabling legislation in the coming weeks on the reform of the Broadcasting Act. We will have lots to say about that in just a matter of a short few weeks,” Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault told reporters.
The changes will be the first time the law has been amended since its introduction nearly a decade ago.
“We’re a minority government. I don’t think we’re having a bill that would try to encompass everything, not that we would necessarily want to include everything that was in the Yale report. So our approach will be a more targeted one,” said Guilbeault.
According to Guilbeault, the new legislative changes will ensure “there is fairness” in Canadian broadcasting by forcing international companies to comply with Canadian regulations.
As reported exclusively by True North, Guilbeault suggested last week that “some voices on the right” were responsible for claims that the Liberals intend to censor and license media companies.
“I’m not sure where you saw in the speech from the throne or some of my comments anything regarding censorship or licensing,” said Guilbeault in response to a question from a town hall participant on Friday.
“I mean, some on the right have claimed that this is what we were doing. It’s not and I read the speech from the throne a couple of times already and I can’t think of anything in the speech from the throne that this is our intention.”
The minister’s denial comes despite the fact that he himself has made explicit comments to that effect in the past.
“If you’re a distributor of content in Canada and obviously if you’re a very small media organization the requirement probably wouldn’t be the same if you’re Facebook, or Google. There would have to be some proportionality embedded into this,” Guilbeault said on CTV’s Question Period.
Guilbeault later retracted his comments after facing public lashback.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s throne speech also included vague mentions of “taking action on online hate” within a section on systemic racism.