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Trudeau follows China’s Playbook for Controlling the Media


Justin Trudeau is transforming Canada’s free press into state-controlled media. His government silences critics while funneling millions to propaganda outlets backing the Liberal agenda. 

This two-pronged approach of censoring dissent while funding friendly narratives closely resembles autocrats in China and Russia.

Trudeau seems willing to erode press freedom and journalistic independence in order to shape discourse and public opinion. 

But democracy requires empowered voices shining light on those in power, not more state-sanctioned media acting as the government’s mouthpiece.

This nakedly transparent effort to manipulate voters by attacking press freedom reveals his weakening position and underlying contempt for democracy.

Is Trudeau’s authoritarian-style takeover of the media an act of desperation to control narratives and public opinion as his polling declines?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent increase of funding for the Canadian Journalism Labour Tax Credit is the latest attempt to bring the country’s media under his government’s influence. 

This tax credit effectively serves as a subsidy for news outlets, allowing them to claim up to 35% of salaries up to $85,000 per journalist. This dramatic expansion of an existing tax credit represents a dangerous step towards the nationalization of the Canadian media”.

The government providing millions in public funds to selectively support private news organizations creates clear conflicts of interest and perverse incentives. Outlets will be encouraged to provide coverage favoring the Liberal government in order to continue qualifying for this generous tax credit. This risks turning newsgroups into clones of the state-run CBC which reliably backs Trudeau’s agenda.

This tax credit functions as a subsidy for outlets like CBC, allowing them to claim significant portions of journalists’ salaries from the public treasury.

Expanding this credit benefits the CBC greatly, enabling Canada’s public broadcaster to qualify for even more taxpayer money to fund its news operations. As a crown corporation, the CBC has incentives to provide coverage favoring the government of the day. 

CBC stands to gain talent and resources as struggling private outlets continue making cuts while it taps into the tax credit subsidies. Trudeau can rely on the CBC to push government-friendly narratives. 

For a while now, Trudeau’s actions have demonstrated a clear pattern of trying to bolster state-sponsored media outlets that favor his government while actively working to hinder and silence independent journalistic voices that are critical of him.

In 2019, Trudeau banned True North Center reporter Andrew Lawton from traveling with him on the Liberal election campaign, denying access to cover public events and press conferences. This was seen as retaliation for Lawton’s critical coverage of Trudeau’s leadership.

As a result of the ban, the right-leaning media outlets Rebel Media and True North Centre won a legal battle against the Leaders’ Debates Commission to obtain accreditation for their reporters to cover the 2019 federal election debates. The outlets took the Commission to court after being initially denied access on the grounds that they engage in advocacy.

The prime minister has consistently taken steps to weaken and marginalize outlets and journalists who scrutinize his policies and leadership in their reporting. This includes things like censoring social media sites and denying government funding and access to critical outlets.

Simultaneously, Trudeau has gone out of his way to elevate and amplify news organizations over which he exerts more direct control, like the CBC. This one-two punch approach allows him to funnel government resources to outlets that will provide him positive coverage while cutting off oxygen to independent voices inclined to hold his feet to the fire with actual watchdog journalism.

Trudeau wants to create a Canadian media environment dominated by sympathetic state-run platforms like CBC that serve as PR organs for his government. Meanwhile, he is aggressively trying to defund, censor and undermine the influence of journalistic outlets that don’t share his liberal perspective or hesitate to critically analyze his policies. His systematic efforts to shape media narratives reflect a disregard for objectivity and press freedom.

Meanwhile, Trudeau has simultaneously been pushing legislation like Bills C-11 and C-18 to increase government control over social media and weaken independent online voices critical of his leadership. 

Trudeau seems to have turned against social media after realizing it could empower conservatives and non-state voices holding him accountable. 

Trudeau’s combined tactics of increasing funding for state-sponsored media while also restricting independent critical voices makes his intentions evident – he wants to turn the entire Canadian media landscape into outlets that function as mouthpieces to sing his praises and propagate his agenda. 

His two-pronged strategy shows that Trudeau aims to pressure media organizations so that the only narrative they promote is one favorable to him, even if that requires turning them into propaganda machines that serve the government rather than critically monitor it. He wants to craft a chorus of media channels that provide glowing coverage of him rather than objectively holding his power to account.

Taken together, these moves represent a disturbing assault on press freedom by the Trudeau government. He is undermining watchdog journalism and attempting to manipulate media narratives to favor himself. 

Canadians deserve freely independent media outlets to speak truth to power, not a docile industry corrupted by government handouts and subject to state censorship. Trudeau’s use of public funds and laws to control the news landscape is highly undemocratic and antithetical to free expression.

Trudeau’s efforts to restrict press freedom and consolidate state control over media bears troubling similarities to the information landscape in authoritarian countries like China. His increased government funding of preferred outlets combined with censoring critical voices risks transforming Canada’s vibrant media ecosystem into one dominated by state propaganda, much like the Chinese Communist Party’s total control over journalism.

In China, all major media outlets are essentially state-run, acting as propaganda distributors for the ruling party. There is no independent journalism, only party-approved narratives. Chinese journalists face intense censorship, surveillance and punishment for straying from the CCP line. Even foreign media access is highly restricted through tactics like denying visas for critical reporters.

Trudeau’s maneuvers to silence critics on social media, funnel public money to outlets backing his agenda, and potentially regulate online news distribution point to a willingness to undermine press freedom for political benefit. This is a dangerous path for a democracy founded on values of free expression.

Canadians must remain vigilant against any government encroachment on media independence, which is crucial for informed civic discourse and checking abuses of power. Trudeau should reverse course from mimicking Chinese information control and uphold this country’s proud traditions of media liberty, transparency and dissent. Canada’s democracy depends on preventing the emergence of CCP-style state media domination that serves rulers rather than the public.

Trudeau’s media control tactics not only parallel China’s authoritarian information landscape, but also echo Russia’s pervasive censorship and state pressure on independent journalism.

The Russian government actively suppresses independent journalism through direct and indirect pressure.

The state aggressively controls information and the media landscape. Journalists seeking to maintain independence face immense pressure from Russian authorities. This includes both overt censorship and self-censorship due to intimidation of media outlets and reporters.

Direct censorship manifests through things like censoring online content, restricting foreign media operations, and even jailing journalists over their coverage. Indirect methods involve state control of media ownership, financial punishments for outlets, and propaganda pressure.

This pervasive censorship distorts narratives and limits public discourse to suit Putin’s interests. Censorship in Russia is a constant factor shaping the media environment. The state exploits both overt and discreet tactics to stifle independence and critical voices.

While not identical, Prime Minister Trudeau’s efforts to funnel public funds towards preferred media outlets while regulating platforms enabling criticism should raise concerns about Canadian press freedom. An informed democracy relies on a diversity of voices, not state-shaped narratives.

Trudeau’s multifaceted attempts to manipulate narratives and restrict critical voices represent an alarming assault on press freedom. His government’s selective public subsidies alongside censorious laws create a dangerous conflict of interest – trading taxpayer funds for favorable coverage. This risks corroding independent journalism’s vital role as a watchdog against abuses of power.

Canadians must guard against any abuses of media autonomy, the lifeblood of democracy. As Trudeau’s measures steadily emulate the state media dominance in China and Russia, we stand at a crossroads for the future of free expression. Will voices of dissent thrive or be muted by government overreach?

The choice is clear. To safeguard our cherished freedoms and transparency, Trudeau must wholly abandon his bid to become Canada’s “editor-in-chief.” Journalism should monitor the government, not be its obedient mouthpiece. Voices of conscience must resound louder than any prime minister’s autocratic decrees.

This nation was built upon ideals far greater than any one leader’s agenda. Canadians deserve the liberty to freely speak truth, challenge conventions, and hold officials accountable without fear of state punishment or control.

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