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How would/will C-18 change VMedia's policies? - 2 Questions

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  • How would/will C-18 change VMedia's policies? - 2 Questions

    Q. What sort of internet blocking/filtering will be expected from providers, should Bill C-18 pass?

    Q. What, if anything, is VMedia doing to push back on this kind of censorship?

  • #2
    Great questions!

    Q. What sort of internet blocking/filtering will be expected from providers, should Bill C-18 pass?
    Bill C-18, otherwise known as the Online News Act, will not require Internet Service Providers and/or Broadcast Distribution Undertakings to block, filter, censor, or restrict content of any kind.

    The Online News Act is directed at digital news intermediaries and content aggregators, including online communication platforms, search and social media services, digital news outlets, and digital news operators. The provisions contemplated in Bill C-18 would be facilitated by these digital news intermediates and aggregators, and not Internet Service Providers and/or Broadcast Distribution Undertakings, such as VMedia.

    As it is written in the Act, Internet Service Providers and Broadcast Distribution Undertaking are expressly exempt.

    What, if anything, is VMedia doing to push back on this kind of censorship?
    VMedia is a proud and active member of the Competitive Network Operators of Canada, who collectively form a vocal alliance of independent service providers striving for innovative and competitive telecommunication services across Canada.

    While these efforts have largely focused on infrastructure access and (fair) access rate regulation, CNOC has engaged and participated in regulatory discourse when proposed amendments or legislature may have a direct (and negative) affect to service providers and their subscribers, as it relates to privacy and/or censorship. As an example, see CNOC's comments in the CRTC's Statutory Review of the Copyright Act re: FairPlay Canada.


    • #3
      I really appreciate the reply, Matt!

      I'm aware of what C-18 is supposed to ordain, in regards to the "Act" itself. But I'm a little disturbed to be hearing members of Parliament coming out and saying they will be also using C-18 to force internet providers to "eliminate the transmission of 'harmful content', etc. online". These kinds of declarations are what have me asking VMedia the questions I'm asking.

      I believe you to be sincere in your reply, as you always are, and I thank you.
      But I find myself hoping something outside your knowledge isn't taking place. This censorship thing is becoming a real threat to us all.


      • #4
        I realized afterward, I should've included C-11 in my questioning.
        I was so focused on C-18 at the time, I overlooked the bigger threat.
        C-11 would appear to actually be the one that threatens to get between our providers and our content.

        Forgive me, but I have to as the same questions, as they apply to that bill...

        Q. What sort of internet blocking/filtering will be expected from providers, now that Bill C-11 recently passed?

        Q. What, if anything, is VMedia doing to push back on this kind of censorship?


        • #5

          Broadly, our comments from our previous response (re: C-18) apply to Bill C-11 as well. Namely, Bill C-11 is also not intended for, or applicable to, regulated Broadcast Distribution Undertakings and/or Internet Service Providers already operating under license from the CRTC, as it is currently written.

          As such, both Bill C-11 & C-18 do not mandate or require VMedia to block, filter, censor, or restrict online content of any kind.

          With that said, what Bill C-11 does propose is to extend CRTC oversight to digital audio & video entities (OTT video streaming services, audio streaming services, audio/video content aggregators) which currently operate outside its mandate. By doing so, this will allow the CRTC to enforce elements of the Broadcasting Act. Should Bill C-11 pass, these entities would be required to make financial contributions to producing "Canadian content", and making Canadian Content available on their platforms, in the manner defined in the Broadcasting Act. Failure to do so would result in financial penalties.


          • #6
            Thanks for keeping the discussion going, Matt.

            It would appear C-11 (as with all of these bills) is written to direct our attention to something we would view at a glance as being innocuous, while having some vague language in place that can allow for extraordinary abuse.

            In the name of "Canadian content", they're installing a vector for controlling content and the algorithmic promotion of content. While this doesn't directly affect how internet providers themselves operate, it does affect the content that is streamed to the provider level. My first impression is, this would seemingly change what VMedia TV has to market and promote, as it has to assemble packages based on what the channels will be broadcasting/streaming, going forward.

            My fear is that, once such a vector is created, the "regulation" won't stop at simply "Canadian content". No doubt, they will use "Canadian content rules" as their excuse for having something they don't like, erased. They used a similar tactic to have every TV provider remove RT (citing "propaganda and misinformation"), and replace it with an actual propaganda station (Ukraine 24). Apparently, the government feels they have the right to choose what propaganda they want us to see.

            Anyway, I'm not going to drag you into a whole debate about how the Act should or shouldn't be interpreted. It's just that we're hearing Parliament constantly fling around the idea of "removing harmful content from the Internet", and saying they intend to use the new legislation to make that a reality. If the bills don't contain what I'm fearing, where is this coming from?? (Do you have any ideas?)
            Last edited by AlphaSet; 03-10-2023, 06:40 PM.


            • #7
              Discourse is important

              On a personal note, I think there are elements in both C-11 and C-18 that certainly warrant dialogue, as provisions in both have the ability to alter the way content and news are made available and consumed.

              There can certainly be a debate with respect to the effectiveness of the CRTC's "Canadian content" initiative, including funding allocation, and whether this program has had a positive effect on Canadian creators and production(s) as a whole.

              Additionally, Bill C-18 places requirements on news aggregators (ex: Google, Facebook) with respect to how they chose to show content, what content should be given priority, and there is even a provision that, depending on how it is interpreted and applied, would require these aggregators to pay Canadian news outlets when content is used or linked on their platform. Is this a good thing? I suppose it could be, but the devil is in the details. Facebook and Google, for example, may very well take the position that they will simply no longer show content or links from Canadian outlets, in order to absolve themselves from the payments they may be subject to in this legislation.


              • #8
                You're definitely not wrong about any of that, Matt.

                This is purely FYI...
                I'm not really a big fan of Pierre Poilievre, or politicians in general for that matter.
                But as they say, even a broken clock tells the right time twice a day.

                Here's his take on C-11 that needs to be heard...
                Last edited by AlphaSet; 03-14-2023, 12:51 AM.