Canada bans RT — Analysis

After complaints by ethnic Ukrainians, a Canadian regulator banned TV companies from carrying RT France or RT France.

Ottawa media regulators officially banned RT France (and RT France) on Wednesday. They claimed that the programming violated government policies and was a threat to democracy.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission announced the following: “the continued authorization to distribute RT and RT France is not in the public interest.”

Canadian network operators pulled all of their services off the air due to the conflict in Ukraine.

“RT’s programming is not consistent with the standards against which Canadian services are measured nor the policy objectives set out in the Broadcasting Act,”The regulator added that it was “also concerned with programming from a foreign country that seeks to undermine the sovereignty of another country, demean Canadians of a particular ethnic background and undermine democratic institutions within Canada.”

The reference was to complaints filed by ethnic Ukrainians to the regulator. Jason Woycheshyn (president of the Ukrainian Canadian Bar Association), was one of those who requested the ban, according to Canadian state broadcaster CBC. He argued there was “no need [for] or interest” in Russian propaganda in Canada, and sought to ban RT and “any other state-sponsored propaganda media Russia is currently promoting”Television, radio and internet broadcasts.

The decision by the CRTC comes a day following the address of Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, to Canadian legislators asking for their support in supporting the government in Kiev.

More than 1.3 million Canadians have at least one Ukrainian ancestor, as compared with just under 600,000. With Russian heritage, only 600,000.

“Freedom of speech and a range of perspectives are a necessary part of our democracy. It is however a privilege, and not an right to broadcast in Canada.Ian Scott, the head of the CRTC, made this statement Wednesday.

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Three major Canadian TV providers – Rogers, Bell and Shaw – announced they were dropping RT on February 27, with Shaw promising its clients a credit on the next bill. Access Communications followed Justin Trudeau’s lead and asked the CRTC about a ban.

Trudeau stated that there were “a significant amount of disinformation circulating from Russia, including on social media, and we all need to keep calling it out.”

RT International continues to broadcast but RT France has ceased operations after being banned by the EU on March 3. “Russian propaganda” over Moscow’s decision to send troops into Ukraine. 

Commenting on the UK regulator’s probe of RT in early March, the network’s deputy editor in chief Anna Belkina pointed out that the “supposedly free media environment”The West seems to be against any Russian voice or perspective.

“This collective Western establishment seems to be terrified of a mere presence of any outside voice for the fear of losing their historically captive audience, if that audience encounters a different perspective,”Belkina stated.

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