Fox News may soon be banned from Canadian cable packages, with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) opening a public consultation process to help come to a decision.
The federal agency is in charge of regulating Canada’s broadcasting and television services, and has put Fox News under the microscope after an open letter by Egale Canada, a 2SLGBTQI advocacy group. Canadians have until June 2 to submit their thoughts as part of the public hearing.
The open letter, submitted on April 4, calls on the CTRC to remove Fox News from Canadian cable packages, after especially highlighting comments made by former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who the group says made “false and horrifying claims about 2STNBGN [Two Spirit, trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming] people, painting them as violent and dangerous.”
Even though Carlson parted ways with Fox in late-April, Egale is highlighting that this is part of a larger problem.
"Egale Canada is pleased to see the CRTC open Part 1 into the removal of Fox News from Canadian distribution," said Jennifer Boyce, Egale's director of communications and marketing, to Yahoo Canada.
"We remain committed to the call in our open letter. The issue of Fox News inciting hate, violence, and discrimination in its programming extends beyond one individual."
The comments made by Carlson particularly caught people’s attention, as Egale in its letter claims that the TV host “made the inflammatory and false claim that trans people are ‘targeting’ Christians.”
“To position trans people in existential opposition to Christianity is an incitement of violence against trans people that is plain to any viewer.”
Carlson's comments came after a transgender man killed six in a mass shooting in Nashville, at a private Christian elementary school. They also came amid a rise in bills in the U.S. that seek to limit transgender rights.
As part of the segment, Carlson claimed that 2STNBGN people are given preferential treatment in employment among other opportunities. Egale Canada believes this is “clearly an attempt to stoke resentment against 2STNBGN people. ”
Egale was also featured in the segment by Carlson, where he cited another open letter by the group, which brought attention the rise in anti-2SLGBTQI hate, which the controversial TV host claimed was “a lie.”
In response to our call for consultations, the @CRTCeng opened a Part 1 Application for the removal of Fox News from the list of non-Canadian programming services authorized for distribution.
Learn more and submit your comments to the CRTC at: https://t.co/o3wXWBqynZ pic.twitter.com/rPIuPKnKu3
— Egale Canada (@egalecanada) May 4, 2023
The legalities of removing Fox News
The CRTC doesn’t issue licences to non-Canadian broadcasters, like Fox News, but the federal agency has established that they must be held to the same standard as Canadian channels. Recently, the CRTC banned Russian state-controlled TV channels, and RT France from Canadian airways.
Under the Broadcasting Regulations, Canadian broadcasters aren’t allowed to broadcast “any abusive comment or abusive pictorial representation that, when taken in context, tends to or is likely to expose an individual or 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.”
The CRTC is not legally required to hold a public hearing, but it may if “it would be in the public interest to do so,” according to Canada’s Broadcasting Act.
Recently, the network settled a defamation suit for $US787 million with Dominion Voting Systems, after they accused Fox News of promoting lies about the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
The public starts to have its say
Since opening the public hearing process, over 50 comments have been published.
“I support a full ban of Fox entertainment from Canada’s cable packages,” writes Donna Gillis of Halifax. “It’s entertainment, disinformation and a whole lot of conspiracy. It is not news. It has destroyed the USA. We don’t need Fox in Canada."
While some are in support of the ban, maybe believe it’s a form of censorship.
“I am in opposition to this proposal because it is censorious in nature and is certain to cause more harm than good,” writes Robert Moloney of St. John’s.
“Yes it is extreme in some of its views but it is a channel viewed by many in the USA, for that reason alone we should be able to access this channel and see what our neighbours are saying. Viewing Fox News is optional,” writes Richard Linnett of Picton, Ont.
“I oppose the removal of Fox News from the List of non-Canadian services authorized for distribution. Tucker Carlson is no longer employed by Fox News,” writes David Payne of Toronto.
Carlson and Fox News did not respond in time for publication to Yahoo Canada.