March 04, 2011

Your Government and you.

Recently a friend proposed that the US adopt a law similar to Canada that you cannot lie on the news.

A quick research shows that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has never evoked the law. I see it as the government passing a law restricting freedom of the press.

So putting the first amendment aside and playing fiction, what would the enforcement of said law entail?

I suppose it could be passive, waiting for a complaint then investigating. Similar to the FCC and bad language. A complaint is filed and someone investigates. Would that mean that each news broad caster would have to keep copies of every broadcast? And for how long? Statue of limitation would have to be set. If some broadcasts are sent to other countries (CNN) that would fall under international law? That means they would need to store all broadcasts forever...

Anyways, the investigator requests the broadcast in question. The station may refuse, at which point the investigator would have to subpoena the broadcast. Seeing as this is Federal law that brings the Courts and Marshall's into the mix. Now they view the broadcast and fact check the complaint. If the broadcast did prevaricate, then they must determine intent.

This would mean having the source material seized as well. Assuming they found the broadcast did knowingly mislead a fine would be levied. The news organization would then either pay up or decide to fight. Then a case built and a hearing date sent. The broadcasters would engage a lawyer and the court battle etc.

My thoughts then go to enforcement. Would the executive branch be able to pick and choose targets?

That is just if it is passive, lets say it is active. The government collects every news cast and reviews it for inaccuracies and intent. Or better still, each broadcaster would have a government employee going over the scripts and fact checking prior to airing....

Yeah, I see why Canada never evoked this...

1 comment:

flyingvan said...

Yeah, well, you'd also have to say goodby to World News Daily, The National Enquirer, and CNN