Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Jonathan Kay: The federal government’s unsettling communications power grab

No one should trust any agency of government to regulate speech. I’m no fan of Ezra Levant’s Rebel site. But free countries don’t ban book sales. Ever

In this vein, this week’s report recommends that the Canadian Communications Commission regulate the “terms of trade” and power “imbalances” so often exploited by social-media platforms. In some cases, that might not be a bad idea. Many Canadian citizens and businesses now rely on social media as a necessary communications and commercial service, like the phone network. It’s not always clear why it shouldn’t be regulated as such, especially when Twitter arbitrarily shuts people down for ideological reasons.

No one should trust any agency of government to regulate speech. Just this week, we learned of a bizarre investigation into Ezra Levant’s alleged violation of election laws … for selling a book. I’m no fan of Ezra’s Rebel site. But free countries don’t ban book sales. Ever.

Yet even as we remain vigilant regarding government censors, we should also keep one eye out for the digital oligopolists who seem equally eager to stifle speech for their own purposes. In a perfect world, the proposed new Canadian Communications Commission might bring corporate censors to heel. Too bad that’s probably not the world we inhabit.


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