The increasingly authoritarian government of Justin Trudeau in Canada has mandated that podcasting platforms and streaming services must register with the government’s broadcasting regulatory body and actively promote “meaningful contributions to Canadian and Indigenous content.”
In potentially a further threat to freedom of speech, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) quietly announced on Friday a major overhaul to how independent media operates within the country.
Claiming to be a “regulatory plan to modernize Canada’s broadcasting framework,” the CRTC said that online streaming services operating in Canada with at least $10 million or more in annual revenue will need to register with the broadcasting regulator by November 28th, potentially establishing a situation in which online content could face similar restrictions to traditional broadcasting venues such as television and radio.
The regulator stipulated that only online service providers of podcasts will have to register with the government while individuals who produce or share podcasts online will not. The framework will also exclude online services that only feature video games or audiobooks.
“We are developing a modern broadcasting framework that can adapt to changing circumstances. To do that, we need broad engagement and robust public records. We appreciate the significant participation during this first phase and look forward to hearing a diversity of perspectives at our contributions proceeding in November,” said CRTC Chief Executive Officer Vicky Eatrides.
In addition to coming in line with broadcasting regulations, the CRTC also said that it will be looking to force online platforms into actively supporting Canadian and “Indigenous” content.
The Canadian government, armed with one of the world's most repressive online censorship schemes, announces that all "online streaming services that offer podcasts" must formally register with the government to permit regulatory controls:https://t.co/wHOloLgnY2 pic.twitter.com/6noTYceVsg
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) October 1, 2023
The announcement has sparked concerns among free speech advocates, including independent journalist Glenn Greenwald, who warned that it will expand “one of the world’s most repressive online censorship schemes.”
“Trudeau is trying to crush free speech in Canada. Shameful,” added X boss Elon Musk.
“I know they never had ‘Free Speech’ in Canada, but now you can’t even have a podcast the Canadian government doesn’t approve of. Trudeau is a not only a Nazi supporter, but an actual Nazi,” commented left-wing podcaster Jimmy Dore in reference to Trudeau and the Canadian Parliament giving a standing ovation for a 98-year-old Ukranian who fought for Nazi Germany in World War II earlier this month.
Former Libertarian Party vice presidential candidate Spike Cohen quipped: “The next time Justin Trudeau and his Parliament give a standing ovation to a Nazi war veteran, Canadian podcasters might not be allowed to tell their fellow citizens about it.”
Under Trudeau’s leftist government, Canada has vastly expanded the criminalisation of speech, with citizens even being arrested for seemingly minor infractions such as “misgendering” transgender individuals or for proclaiming that there are only two genders.
Some have noted that the prime minister himself, as well as the rest of the Canadian parliament, may have fallen afoul of the country’s hate speech laws by hailing a Waffen SS soldier as a “hero” of Canada, with laws on the books preventing the “promotion of hatred” and the “promotion of antisemitism”, both of which come with prison sentences of up to two years.