EXCLUSIVE: Trudeau's government cited Freedom Convoy coverage as the reason for CRTC to ban RT

Privy Council documents detail how pressure on the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission to bar the Russian state broadcaster from Canadian airwaves came from the Heritage Minister's office, demanding a 'quick decision' from the regulator.

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Initial concerns listed in a briefing note obtained through access to information filings to the Prime Minister's office cite RT's coverage of the anti-mandate demonstrations against Trudeau.

"RT has most recently provided extensive coverage of the Freedom Convoy."

Bureaucrats in the document's editing notes questioned the relevancy of this talking point and it disappeared from subsequent memo versions. Other staff raised concerns that there was neither good reasoning nor supportive evidence to bar the Russian channel under Canada's broadcasting legislation.

"Secondly, it is unclear what evidence or whether sufficient evidence would be put before the CRTC to have it take action."
RT and its subsidiary RT France were stripped of broadcast licenses by the CRTC in March 2022 after several broadcasters voluntarily removed the network from their channel line-ups.

A statement made by the CRTC on the RT ban accused the network of subverting Canada and inciting discrimination against an identifiable group:

"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 CRTC is 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 Commission is of the preliminary view that RT's programming may not be consistent with the Commission's broadcasting regulations, in particular, the abuse comment provisions such as those set out in Section 5 of the Television Broadcasting Regulations 1987," Under Section 5, abuse is defined as words or images that "expose an individual or a group or class of individuals to hatred or contempt on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age or mental or physical disability."

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