Elon Musk took to his social media platform, X, to lambast Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on October 1 over the government’s plan to force online streaming services featuring podcasts to register with the government and face censorship.
Musk told his 158.6 million followers that the plan is an attempt to “crush free speech in Canada.” He called the move “shameful” before reposting the official decree issued by the Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC).
Trudeau is trying to crush free speech in Canada. Shameful. https://t.co/oHFFvyBGxu
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 1, 2023
The rules require streaming services that earn $10 million or more annually to provide certain details about the type of content they provide. Smaller streaming services are excluded, as are services that offer video games and audiobooks only. CRTC claims the changes are an effort to “modernize” Canadian broadcasting.
CRTC aims to increase the regulations on services that are required to register by requiring a minimum of 35% Canadian or Indigenous content. This rule is not yet finalized. On Friday, the CRTC announced that companies will have until November 19 to register.
Registration will require the services to provide details about the content they offer and how many subscribers the service has registered. The CRTC will have the authority to regulate the type of content through the law which applies to any company providing streaming services in Canada regardless of where the service is based.
In a recent article, Glenn Greenwald wrote that the rules amount to one of the “most repressive online censorship schemes in the world.”
Similar censorship plans are in the works in the United States as liberals look to control the flow of information and dilute opinions different from their own. Liberals have been calling for legislation to ban “fake news” for several years, apparently targeting any information they deem to be of less value than their own opinion.
Efforts to force online censorship on Canadians have been ongoing for the last several years. On June 29, 2023, Google informed the Canadian government that a newly signed law requiring a tax on links to news stories was unworkable and that the world’s largest search engine would no longer carry Canadian news on its sites rather than pay a fee for each link that appears.
Google News products result in $250 million annually in earnings to Canadian news sources and publishers through the sale of advertising space. Google has warned that unless the government is able to restructure the law, the link tax will create a situation that leaves Google no choice but to drop out of the market in the country. According to an official statement from Google, the company is willing to do more to support journalism in Canada, but cannot operate the way the current law is written.