Is the New Online Streaming Act a Threat to Your Favorite Podcasts?
The federal government has assured Canadians that the new Online Streaming Act will not regulate individual podcasts. However, this is misleading according to experts, who believe that the legislation empowers regulators to oversee the platforms that host and distribute podcasts. So, let’s dig deeper to understand the implications of this Act on the world of podcasting.
Implications of the Directive
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) received a directive from the Heritage Minister Pascal St-Onge not to regulate individual podcasts. However, the directive did tell the CRTC to treat online streaming services in the same way as any other Canadian broadcasting company. This effectively makes platforms such as Youtube, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts akin to the largest broadcasting entities in Canada.
While the Act may not directly regulate individual podcasts, it will be regulating the companies that distribute the majority of them. By controlling the content on these platforms, the government will be regulating all kinds of content, with broad censorship possibilities. Additionally, there may be a set quota for Canadian content on these platforms, leading to changes in algorithms and regulations that control what Canadians can see online.
Impact on Content Creators
The Act appears less about creating opportunities for Canadian content creators and more about creating a new internet landscape that can be subject to change based on government opinions and bureaucratic decisions. Canadian programming, prioritizing certain categories and groups, along with instructions to bring more Canadians into content creation suggest a larger government control and influence on internet content.
The new Online Streaming Act may not straightforwardly regulate individual podcasts, but it certainly empowers a wide range of authorities to influence and censor content on internet platforms that host them. It appears to be the first step in a broader movement to subject more areas of the internet to government regulations and censorship. So, Canadians must be vigilant about the changing landscape of the internet and the impacts of such legislation on the online content they consume and create.