During the Party National Convention, the Canadian Liberals discussed a proposal for online news publications whose sources cannot be traced to be censored. The proposal was titled “Combatting Disinformation in Canada.”
A section of the proposal read, “BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Liberal Party of Canada: Request the Government explore options to hold on-line information services accountable for the veracity of material published on their platforms and to limit publication only to material whose sources can be traced.”
We obtained a copy of the proposals for you here.
The relevant section is here:
The chair of the internet and e-commerce law at the University of Ottawa, Michael Geist, warned that the proposal is an attempt by the government to restrict free expression.
“Liberal Party policy proposal calls for online information services ‘to limit publication only to material whose sources can be traced.’ An obvious violation of freedom of expression was voted as one of the top 20 policy resolutions for party discussion,” Geist wrote.
In a blog post, he explained that while it is unclear what the Liberal Party means by “online information services,” the resulting “outcome is dangerous no matter the scope.”
“Is this all news outlets with a focus on their online presence? Is it online-only news sources? Is this far broader and designed to encompass Internet platforms such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok (note the reference to “platforms”) with requirements that they be held accountable for posts without traceable sources,” Geist said.
“The implications of the government engaging in this form of heavy-handed speech regulation are dangerous in all of these circumstances. Sourcing is an important issue in the media and the government cannot claim to support press freedom and simultaneously back policies that intervene in sourcing.”