Canada has a law that specifically prohibits lying on broadcast news. Recently their right-wing Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, attempted to repeal that law to facilitate the launch of a new right-wing news network, Sun TV News, something many Canadians having been calling, “Fox News North.” Thankfully, Canadian regulators announced they would be rejecting Harper’s attempts. I don’t understand why a Prime Minister would be interested in repealing a law that requires news broadcasters to be honest, hmm.
The regulation stipulates that licensees are not allowed to, “broadcast any false or misleading news.”
The United States had a very similar law at one time, referred to as the Fairness Doctrine, it had been introduced in 1949 and it required holders of broadcast licenses to both present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was honest, equitable and balanced. Unfortunately it was a little to powerful and many saw it as a violation of First Amendment rights and it was thus repealed. Instead of repealing it they really should have considered revising it and making sure that the “honest” part stayed in there. Then it would not have been a violation of First Amendment rights, as the purpose of news is to honestly report current events, and nobody could have complained about the government “controlling the media.” It’s pathetic that we (and Canada) even need a law to dictate the honesty of broadcast networks.
- Petition to protect Canadian media [A Few Things Ill Considered] (scienceblogs.com)
- Broadcast standards being eroded: Critics (thestar.com)