Suspect Timing: A CRTC Post
I have a suspicion that the CRTC’s timing on certain issues is following at least one political agenda…
One issue, the one that has received significant media attention, is about usage-based billing*. Bell essentially wanted to take cell phone pricing and penalties and apply it to their DSL services. What a nasty, underhanded way of treating your customers. A new company comes along and offers a good deal that threatens your customer base, and rather than offering competitive prices or services, Bell decides that it’ll make up for lost revenue by increasing their prices. Oh, and they want to penalize the start-up company.
The CRTC’s role in this was to propose to allow this new pricing scheme in law.
Thankfully, our docile little nation voiced enough outrage over this issue to get the government to notice us. They told the CRTC, in no uncertain terms, to go to hell**.
Great, and the day is saved! Oh, but there was another CRTC issue…
Yeah, the one about legalizing deliberately misleading news.
The law currently states that it’s illegal to broadcast/publish “any false or misleading news.”
The proposed change (slated to take effect September 2011) is that it would be illegal to broadcast/publish “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 if someone wanted to contest a certain news piece in court, the onus would be on the prosecution to prove that the “news” endangers or is likely to endanger lives, health, or safety. If that was not proven, there would be no case. This would make it excruciatingly difficult to contest any news article, even if it was obviously false or misleading.
Such is the hope of Sun TV, which is launching its news network, nicknamed “Fox News North”, after the demonstratedly biased and misleading news network.
Unfortunately, the uproar over usage-based billing was so great, that everyone forgot about the “fair and balanced” news law. From what I can tell, the UBB announcement came in October 2010, and the news law in January 2011, when most of the objection to UBB flared up.
Who wins here? The right-wing media, when they take advantage of the ruling that seems tailored to their purposes. Consequently, the political conservatives, whose ideologies would be promoted in the media. Also note that the government tried a little to look like the “heroes” for saving the public from UBB, so that’s another reason to suspect the timing – there will likely be an election within a year, and possibly soon.
I’m scared for this country.
* Two parts: a) if an Internet user exceeds their ‘cap’ – say, 25GB/month – they pay huge penalties; b) Internet companies that use Bell’s DSL lines (such as those which offer unlimited service) must also pay for extra usage
** Tony Clement said, “Reverse this decision or we’ll flex government muscle to do it anyway”