My five-point plan to fight back at the broadcast standards council
Did you know that a secretive group called the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council is censoring what you hear on the radio and see on TV?
I bet you didn’t. Because they truly are secretive.
Unlike a real court, or even the kangaroo courts of Canada’s human rights commissions, the CBSC doesn’t hold open meetings when it gets together to censor TV and radio.
In fact, they don’t even let the people they’re censoring attend. No right to face your accuser. No right to ask questions. And when you lose, you don’t have the right to appeal.
I should know, because last week I was condemned by this Star Chamber myself.
On the face of it, the condemnation of my TV show by the censors’ council was for my use of a Mexican insult to tell off the Chiquita Banana company, which had announced trade sanctions against the oilsands.
But, of course, there is no rule against swearing on Canadian TV. So the censors said I violated Clause 6 of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Code of Ethics (apparently there is a list of rules), that I didn’t provide a “full, fair and proper presentation of news, opinion, comment and editorial.”
Hang on a second. What I do isn’t reporting — it’s opinion journalism. It’s editorials. It’s taking a side in the story. Giving a “full” presentation of opinion would require that after I denounced Chiquita, I’d then have to make their case for them.
Or if I endorse the Conservatives in an election, I’d then have to argue the case for the NDP. It’s absurd. By definition I take a side of the debate — not the boring, mushy middle of the road.
But that’s precisely what I was convicted of by these censors. Well, here’s my five-point plan to fight back.
1. Keep breaking the rules. I’m going to violate the censors’ rules every single day on my TV show. Not just me — I’m going to invite other TV and radio hosts who have been censored, and invite them to re-offend on my show. I’m going to make a mockery of the rules.
2. Scrutinize their every move. Let’s point out their inconsistencies and how their rulings violate the Charter of Rights guarantee of freedom of speech. Let’s shine a light on who exactly these censors are. Let’s make it an embarrassing job for them to have.
3. Build a grassroots army. Most journalists in the NSM (the non-Sun Media) are too timid to take on the censors. Let’s encourage them — this can’t just be a personal battle for me. But let’s get the ball rolling ourselves on blogs, Facebook, letters to the editor, etc.
4. Encourage Parliament to act. The censorship provision of the Canadian Human Rights Act was finally repealed this month. We need an MP to champion this and bring it to a vote — repeal the broadcasting regulations that require this sort of censorship on TV.
5. Contact the bosses. James Moore is the minister in charge of CRTC, the government agency that regulates TV and radio. His e-mail is email@example.com.
The prime minister is at firstname.lastname@example.org.
E-mail them. Tell them we want our TV and radio as free as the rest of the media in our life — newspapers, magazines and the Internet.
We don’t need a nanny to tell us what we can hear or see. And we sure don’t need some censor saying you can’t take a political point of view they disagree with.
Categories: Contributor Columns