CRTC enables SunTV to say what it wants - even if not true
Jan 17, 2011

CRTC enables SunTV to say what it wants - even if not true

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has recently approved two measures with the potential to significantly alter the quality and content of our media.

Firstly, Sun TV News Network's bid for a 24 hour news station has been approved. Dubbed "Fox News North", this station undoubtably will have a significantly right wing bias along the lines of Sun's newspapers which are the most right of the mainstream Canadian papers. Kory Teneycke, the now resigned main lobbyist for the station, is a former Harper director of communications.

Secondly, the CRTC is considerably easing requirements on what media is allowed to say from "any false or misleading news" to "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." So unless it meets the incredibly narrow condition (likely to be loosely interpreted and loosely enforced) of likely endangerment, media has free reign to mislead and lie all it wants.

The combination is simply scary: the so called Fox News North now has the new ability to broadcast lies and misrepresentations at will.

Some have considered this comparison to Fox News unfair[1]:
Don Newman, CBC columnist and former host of Newsworld's "Politics" attacked the idea characterizing Fox news in the U.S. as "hugely polarizing." Fox "mainly spews out propaganda that is dangerously misleading and often factually wrong....It specializes in drive-by attacks and misrepresentations, and is positively Orwellian at times, claiming to be 'fair and balanced' while implying that its competitors aren't."
This is a reasonable description of Fox News, but notice the distinction claimed to separate SunTV from Fox: it is precisely the "misleading and factually wrong" part. This is the part the CRTC gives them full license to do.

Mr Lavoie, who replaced Mr. Teneycke and is a former Mulroney insider, claims the news will retain Sun's "provocative" tone. We are thus left with an unapologetically politically right leaning 24 hour news station intending to engage in provocative language with the ability to misdirect or lie with impunity. That is a scary thing indeed.

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