Internal Reluctance Expressed for CBC Joining Fairplay Canada

Canada’s major public broadcaster, the CBC, was reportedly unsure about joining Fairplay Canada.

Back in January, we brought you news that the CBC is joining the Fairplay Canada coalition. At the time, we described the move as quite surprising. This is because the broadcaster has had a long history of being consumer friendly. That move back in January marked the first time we became aware of the CBC moving towards an anti-consumer attitude.

If you found the move confusing, you are not alone. According to internal documents, employees discussing the move internally also expressed skepticism towards joining the anti-consumer coalition.

Shaun Poulter, Executive Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations, commented on the request to join the coalition. In an e-mail, he stated, “this really isn’t our fight, and it will cost us.”

Those words wound up being quite prophetic. There have been years of consumer friendly moves such as online streaming and placing some of the publicly funded programs on BitTorrent. With the latest move, a lot o the good will the CBC built up with consumers have ultimately been undone. This is because, at best, those goodwill moves are gradually being seen as the CBC of the past. Some see the CBC present as licking at their chops to sue every consumer it can find online and jumping at the chance at putting in place mass Internet censorship across Canada.

The reputation damage this caused doesn’t end there. Even if the CBC announces that they are pulling out tomorrow, Canadians will know that the CBC has a history of joining these ill-conceived coalitions when they least expect it. Ultimately, Poulter was right and it did cost the CBC a lot of credibility.

What was particularly revealing in these otherwise heavily redacted e-mails is that the coalition was repeatedly referred to as the “Bell coalition”. This is because it is the ISP that approached so many in an effort to drum up support for their Internet censorship campaign. These documents add to the growing stack of evidence that the call to censorship leads largely to Bell Canada. The coalition is largely organizations that happen to be roped into it all.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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