The Russian invasion of Ukraine has sparked international condemnation and a race to levy sanctions and undo longstanding connections to the country. Responses have included demands that Russia Today, a television network backed by the Russian government, be removed from cable and satellite systems. Companies such as Bell, Rogers, Telus and Shaw have dropped the service, but the desire for a longer-term regulatory solution has brought the issue to the CRTC. Working with a strict two week deadline, last week the CRTC ruled that RT and RT France can no longer be distributed by Canadian television service providers. Monica Song is a partner with the law firm Dentons and one of Canada’s leading telecom and broadcast lawyers. She joins the Law Bytes podcast to unpack the case before the Commission and assess the broader implications around due process and content regulation.
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The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 122: Monica Song on Banning Russia Today From the Canadian Television System
The past week has seen a groundswell of public concern over Bill C-10 and the government’s plan to regulate user generated content. I have given numerous interviews, many of which do a nice job of distilling the key issues in an accessible manner. These include:
- Uncommons with Nate-Erskine Smith
- Political Traction with Amanda Galbraith
- The Long Way with Daniel Proussalidis
Cultural policy in Canada can be contentious, but there is one issue – support for Canadian content or Cancon – that unsurprisingly enjoys near unanimous backing. Given the economic benefits, federal and provincial policies encourage both domestic and foreign film and television production in Canada, but there is a special place for certified Canadian content, which is typically defended on the basis of the need to support cultural sovereignty by promoting “Canadian stories.”
The Full “Culture Exception” That Isn’t: Why Canada Caved on Independent Cultural Policy in the USMCA
In the final weeks of the USMCA negotiations, Canada signalled that a full cultural exception was a non-negotiable issue with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wading in to emphasize the importance of the issue. While the resulting deal has garnered applause from many culture lobby groups (music, magazines, publishers, ACTRA), the reality is that the government did not obtain a full cultural exception. In fact, after criticizing the Conservatives for accepting exceptions to the cultural exception in the TPP (and making it a key issue in the CPTPP once the U.S. exited the agreement), the Liberal government similarly included two exceptions and agreed to an extension in the term of copyright that will have a far more damaging impact on access to Canadian culture than any proposed USMCA provision.