Last week, Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez introduced Bill C-18 – the Online News Act – the second of three planned Internet regulation bills. There is much to unpack about the provisions in the bill including the enormous power granted to the CRTC, the extensive scope of the bill that could cover tweets or LinkedIn posts, the provision that encourages the Internet platforms to dictate how Canadian media organizations spend the money at issue, and the principle that news organizations should be compensated by some entities not only for the use of their work but even for links that refer traffic back to them.
Sue Gardner is the Max Bell School of Public Policy McConnell Professor of Practice for 2021-2022. A journalist who went on to head CBC.ca and later the Wikimedia Foundation (Wikipedia), she is the only Canadian, and the first woman, to have run a global top-5 internet site. She joins the Law Bytes podcast for a conversation about journalism, the Internet platforms, and Bill C-18.
The podcast can be downloaded here, accessed on YouTube, and is embedded below. Subscribe to the podcast via Apple Podcast, Google Play, Spotify or the RSS feed. Updates on the podcast on Twitter at @Lawbytespod.
Bill C-18, the Online News Act
CBC News, This Bill Would Require Facebook, Google to Pay News Outlets
Sue Gardner claims that, even if journalists were paid by the government, they would remain fiercely independent. Is that naive or disingenuous?
Listen from 49 minutes. This former head of CBC.ca uses a lot of words to say very little, except that she clearly thinks that government can solve all our problems. She starts by saying, “There is always someone who is paying the piper, and that somebody is always aiming to call the tune, and I think that journalism has done a really good job of creating a culture inside journalism that is fiercely independent, and I have 10,000 stories from the CBC, and anyone who has worked for a journalistic organization has 10,000 stories, right?”
Oh right, what heroes they are, mostly all parroting each other with identical talking points.
“And I think you would try to set up something with a lot of safeguards, you would design it as well as you could, and you would design it knowing there is a gap between intent and then reality when the rubber hits the road, right? It’s real people implementing things and they are never perfect, right? But I think if you’re trying to achieve a policy objective, you have to make policy, and that is how you would do it. And I think if you were to do that, it opens up … a whole world of ways in which you could make some strategic and potentially really helpful interventions into the marketplace, like with this market failure that we have, right?”
Etc etc. What bullshit. And she was head of CBC.ca?