Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Up North, a Chill Wind

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Up North, a Chill Wind

Article excerpt

Senate Committee hearings reveal some frightening ideas about proposed government regulation of the Canadian press

As the fcc prepares next week to free U.S. newspapers from a failed 28- year experiment in federal regulation, Canada's Senate is fitting Canadian papers for government handcuffs.

Intoning earnest code words that could not disguise a lust to burden another industry with that uniquely Canadian brand of smothering paternalism, the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications kicked off a series of public hearings that its chairman, Sen. Joan Fraser, promised would "examine the quality and diversity of news and information Canadians need and deserve."

For students of Canada's cyclical obsession with media concentration, the hearings so far have been a nostalgic parade of one-hit wonders. Fraser even summoned Tom Kent, who in 1981 headed the mother of all Canadian media investigations, the Royal Commission on Newspapers. As Christina Spencer recalled in a recent Toronto Star op-ed column, the commission drafted a "Canada Newspaper Act," that, among other odious ideas, would have given government the power to decide who could own a newspaper, and forced all editors to answer to something called a "Press Rights Panel."

Kent's vision of a federalized newsroom police was too much even for Canada's many Nanny State enthusiasts, but he had some new ideas for Fraser's Senate hearing. These included a proposal forbidding chain publishers from establishing a single editorial policy for all their papers. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.