Is the Government trying to control the Media?
by Careyprice31 on April 2, 2015 - 4:49pm
Media has been a method that has influenced the public enormously. All of the information that is obtained, sculpts the world that society lives in. The various forms of media such as television, music video and the internet, allows people to envision a world depending on the content of these medias. Although, people tend to consider the media as being independent from political influences, that is not the case. In Canada, the content viewed by millions is, in fact, monitored.
For years, there has been speculation on the government influencing the media in order to control the minds of their people. In most countries, this seems to be the case. Specifically in Canada, there are debates over how the government controls on the mass media. In 2013, a campaign called “Free the CBC” puts an emphasis on the Canadian government interfering with the information being communicated to the public by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and Radio-Canada. The campaign targets the limitations on the information and opinions put out by the broadcasters. The idea of presenting the general public with information that could be filtered brings up an issue of the government concealing information. Generally, if there is a need to influence the viewers or listeners, then there is something to hide. Therefore, the government wants to avoid criticism that could be detrimental to their careers.
A few decades ago, media was exceedingly divergent. Journalists were capable of expressing their true opinions on a subject matter. This would allow the public to make their own assumptions based on the information let out by the news corporations and the journalists opinions. This ideology has been altered. Nowadays, the little opinion journalists do have are demolished by the government. Meaning, any opinion that denounces the political leaders will result in an immediate apology from the journalist. It is a vicious cycle of journalists stating their opinion, which then the company do not agree with the statement due to the government funding their news corporation. Then the apologetic sincerity of that journalists must be announced. This genre of influence from the government can leave their civilians mindless and morbidly afraid of thoughts that are not what their leaders concur with. Thus, there is the question of does the government have too much influence over the media in Canada? This is where the concept of Bill C-461 comes into play.
Freedom house identifies Bill C-461 as “The bill that would alter the current protection afforded to the CBC’s “journalistic, creative or programming activities,” which are excluded from the ATIA (Access to Information Act), and would render them exempt, subject to an injury test.” Thus, the confidential sources who provide the facts needed to stabilize the information, will have to be identified at some point in time. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) applies the rules on how a journalist must conduct themselves morally and ethically. C-461 is an issue that goes against the values that journalists must always retain when reporting. The value is the limitation of harm which is when journalists must protect their sources. It is the reporter’s duty to keep their sources identity a secret. Thus, confidentiality is a key element in the media world. This Bill would threaten the sources from news corporations such as CBC. Bill C-461 and the values of journalists bud heads since they both advocate for completely different things.
Bill C-461 is not the only Bill to affect the media. Bill C-60 allows corporations to determine the salaries their employees would receive. It specifically targets the workers at CBC who would become private. Andy Radia from Yahoo News describes if the Bill were to become law, then CBC would be further undermined as a news corporation. "If this Bill becomes law, the government will have one more lever to control what the CBC does, the programs it presents and the editorial content of the news. Our national public broadcaster will take one step closer to becoming a state broadcaster."
The Canadian government has shown throughout time that control over the media is an immensely powerful tool. Bill C-461 and Bill C-60 show how much they want to influence what is being told by the media. CBC is one of the largest media source in Canada. The Bills would change the way they would report their news stories. Journalists would go against the values placed by the IFJ. There are ethically and morally values that would be rejected since the Bills do not advocate for them. The government has more and more control with the public sphere. We will never know if the Canadian government is really trying to take control over the media, but if they are, it can create a troubling media system.
"Bill C-461." Bill C-461. Open Parliament, n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2015.
"Freedom of the Press." Freedom House. Freedom House, 2014. Web. 2 Apr. 2015.
Radia, Andy. "Is the Harper Government Trying to Control the CBC?" Yahoo News Canada. N.p., 1 May 2013. Web. 02 Apr. 2015.