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With the Liberals pushing for a Communist-style media registration program, every media organization and journalist will soon face a choice.
Will they register with the government, in effect throwing away their independence and announcing their submissiveness to the state?
Or will they fight back, denounce the scheme, and make clear that the “free press” and “free speech” actually means something?
This isn’t even about partisanship or ideology.
It’s about doing what’s right, and standing up against something that authoritarian governments around the world try to do, which is to turn the formerly free media into an extension of the state.
And for those who may be Liberal supporters, and are considering supporting the Liberals attempts to “register” media and use government power to say who and who isn’t a “trusted” organization, just consider this: What happens when the Liberals are no longer in power?
Liberals may be thinking that this expanded government power will be used against media organizations, journalists, and commentators that they don’t like. But if the power exists, it will be used down the road by governments who may go after the very media figures the Liberals currently love.
And all of us, regardless of ideology, can agree that government corruption must be exposed. And we can agree that all politicians will have a huge incentive to give government protection to people who do what the government wants, while also having an incentive to punish those who report things or say things they don’t want the public to hear.
That dangerous incentive is why the power of government must be shackled when it comes to exerting control over the media. Without a free media, without a clear line between the state and the press, a country is not really free.
The Liberals have already been moving in a more and more dangerous direction. Their $600 million media bailout was a clear effort to make a large portion of the media subservient to the state. Then, with Unifor head Jerry Dias—who represents thousands of unionized journalists—taking an active partisan role in the election, the line between the government and the media blurred even further.
And now, with the Liberals pushing for media to register, that line risks being erased entirely. As a result of this growing threat to Canadian freedom, everyone who values the free press must stand up and be counted.
If we wait, it will be too late.