Monday, July 19, 2004

CRTC: Cowardly, Conniving, unBalanced....becoming Irrelevant.

Don't be told what you want
Don't be told what you need
There's no future no future
No future for you
-----The Sex Pistols, God Save the Queen

Today in the national post, the Canadian Islamic Council and the Canadian Jewish Congress got it on talking about al-Jareeza (Arabic for "the island", the old expression for the Arabian Peninsula). The Islamic Council wanted uncensored feeds from al-Jareeza, predictably, with the anti-semitism included. Well, how things change. The CIC is typically up in arms when Islam is slighted in the least, and now it turns out they are all in favour of free speech when it incites anti-semitic violence. The rep correctly surmised (correctly) that the mandatory censorship of the channel was in fact a tough financial burden for any carrier of the feeds from the Qatar-based channel. The CRTC did not want to seem racist so it accepted the channel could be broadcast, but only with a financial penalty that no one could absorb. Quite the PR move.

The Jewish Congress was actually, surprisingly, supportive of the channel and the restrictions. Having cake + eating it too....

The best part of the articles was the exerpt written by the CIC stating that the channel was not anti-semitic since:

A) It recruited from the best western news groups (Reuters, BBC)
B) It was accused of being pro-Israeli (or "pro-zionist")

The first defense is utterly ridiculous since most larger western news groups, especially the BBC and Reuters recruit straight from the local population and are often extremely anti-semitic. Reuters and the BBC are especially known for anti-Iraeli reporting.

The second defence is entirely meaningless as being 'pro-zionist' is an insult that is commonly thrown around the middle east. Half of the Palestinians killed in the Intifada who are in the wrong place at the wrong time or who are belonging to a different armed faction than those holding a gun to their heads are derided as "pro zionist collaborators" right before they meet Allah.

al-Jareeza is especially prone to this criticism since it does attack the autocracies of the middle east who do not have the imagination or credibility to come up with a different slanderous term for them.

I do not think that al-Jareeza will cause anyone to convert to militant islam in Canada, and I am not too concerned in the CRTC's reasoning....

The problem is that the CRTC has rejected the Fox News Network from coming to Canada, but allows a multitude of left leaning American networks to freely broadcast, and is now allowing an anti-semitic channel to broadcast here as well. What could possibly be the explanation other than the ideological, left leaning multicultural posturing of the CRTC.

Right wing conservatives? Not a chance.

Anti-semitic minority channel? Right on!

What about the RAI, Italy's national broadcaster? Why have they been rejected in favour of al-Jackass? where is the equal application of the law? Why was a Quebec radio station recently banned for "inappropriateness" and receiving 43 complaints over 2 years, while Telus racks up over 2500 CRTC complaints in a few months and faces no consequences?

In reality, all of our media will probably be streamed over the internet and there will be nothing the CRTC will be able to do. Canadians will be free to get their information from anywhere at anytime and the perceived "appropriateness" will be up to the end user and not our nanny-state.

PS: Coyne's got his own views over here.

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