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Monday, May 27, 2024

Canada cracks down on streaming and podcasts

Critics accuse Trudeau government of trying to crush free speech with new regulations for online services

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC ) announced new conditions for online streaming services broadcasting in the country. According to the news release posted on Friday, the body is requiring content providers earning $10 million or more in annual revenue to provide information about their activities and complete a registration form by November 28.

The regulatory plan is devised to ensure that the streaming services make “meaningful contributions to Canadian and Indigenous content,” the CRTC said.

Read more: Canada’s Trudeau wants India to cooperate in murder probe, declines to release evidence

“We are developing a modern broadcasting framework that can adapt to changing circumstances. To do that, we need broad engagement and robust public records,” Vicky Eatrides, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer, CRTC said as quoted by the website.

Still, the move was widely criticized in Canada and beyond. Elon Musk, the X (formerly Twitter) CEO slammed the Trudeau government for trying to suppress free speech in the country. “Trudeau is trying to crush free speech in Canada. Shameful.” Musk said in an X post on Sunday.

The remarks come in response to a tweet by a journalist and columnist Glenn Greenwald, who re-posted the CRTC news release criticizing the “censorship.”

“The Canadian government, armed with one of the world’s most repressive online censorship schemes, announces that all “online streaming services that offer podcasts” must formally register with the government to permit regulatory controls,” Greenwald lamented in his post.

Read more: India stops processing visas in Canada

Other X users also blasted the “shocking” government decision that was not debated or voted on by the Parliament, calling it a part of his government’s Internet censorship strategy.

The new rules arise from the Online Streaming Act, formerly known as Bill C-11, that took effect in April this year. The legislation has given new powers to Canada’s broadcasting regulator and includes the ability to impose financial penalties against people and businesses that violate certain provisions of the Broadcasting Act or its regulations.

In August this year, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram among others, pulled news content from their platforms in Canada in retaliation to new legislation requiring internet giants to pay publishers for the news articles shared on their social media sites.

Google said last month they would follow suit if “the serious structural issues” with the legislation are not resolved.