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Canada is regulating the internet & podcasts

Canadian governments pursuing a hands-off approach to the online world, by regulating the internet including podcasts according to a new bill, Bill C-10.

Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault says the plan is to regulate “online platforms that act as broadcasters.”

Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault. Credit: CTV News

The government of Justin Trudeau is now pushing Bill C-10, a law that would see Canadians subjected to the most regulated internet in the free world. The bill is created as a means to combat online hate which includes a provision that could allow the Canadian federal government to order the deletion of any Facebook, YouTube, Instagram or Twitter upload made by a Canadian.

There has been speculation that the bill should be expanded into the audio realm and in particular, podcasts.

Canadian internet is already subject to strict regulations and an anonymous post can get you sued or imprisoned if it’s defamatory, infringes on copyright, violates Canadian hate speech laws or transmits illegal content such as child pornography.

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Bill C-10 proposes to subject whole realms of the Canadian online world to content oversight from broadcast regulators, including podcasts, online videos and even the website created by Canadians.

What does this mean for podcasters?

The introduction of this law means that any post, podcast episode or video created by Canadians can be deleted or even worse, lead to jail time. Whilst this is a great initiative to combat hate speech and other online hate, there is a concern that this bill will infringe on free speech: a key component of democracy.

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Governments all over the world still haven’t figured out the best way to leverage control over big tech companies and if this move proves successful will threaten the future of free speech globally.

One of the main reasons that makes a democracy what it is, is the power of free speech. The C-10 bill is quite literally a direct attack on free speech and unfair treatment of content creators and broadcasters because the two are fundamentally different.

Regulating podcasts aswell as Youtube posts should be the job of social media companies and perhaps these organisations should be put under more pressure to regulate using internal systems without government interference.

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Whilst the pandemic has been a massive catalyst in creating more and more social media stars with massive audiences/outreach, there has to be a better way for the Canadian government to control what goes on social media.

The problem is, if Canada doesn’t go through with this bill, another government may enter through that door which is problematic because we see censorship of groups or key figures who may criticise/oppose government policies. Like this bill.

Conservative MP and heritage critic Alain Rayes has criticised the amendment, saying his party would “continue to stand up for the freedoms of Canadians who post their content online and oppose C-10 at every stage of the legislative process.”

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