Canadian regulator has forbidden TV providers to carry RT or RT France, after complaints from ethnic Ukrainians
File photo © RIA Novosti/Evgeny Odinokov
Media regulators in Ottawa have formally outlawed RT and RT France on Wednesday, saying their programming went against government policy and undermined democracy.
After reviewing complaints from the public, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced that “the continued authorization to distribute RT and RT France is not in the public interest.”
Most Canadian operators have already pulled the networks off air, citing 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 said, adding 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.”
This appeared to be a reference to the ethnic Ukrainians who filed complaints with the regulator. According to Canadian state network CBC, one of the people who called for the ban was Jason Woycheshyn, president of the Ukrainian Canadian Bar Association. 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” from TV, radio, internet or any other means of broadcasting.
CRTC’s decision comes a day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the Canadian lawmakers, asking them to support the government in Kiev.
Over 1.3 million Canadians claim at least some Ukrainian descent, compared to just over 600,000 with Russian heritage.
“Freedom of speech and a range of perspectives are a necessary part of our democracy. However, it is a privilege and not a right to be broadcast in Canada,” CRTC head Ian Scott said in a statement on Wednesday.