Canada Dry

I was reading an excellent essay from David Warren on the murder of an Italian freelance journalist in Iraq when one of David’s parentheticals caught my eye.

Canada, which bans the U.S. Fox News network, has recently permitted Al Jazeera to broadcast nationally through cable

Like the Canada Dry slogan says, those kooky folks at the CRTC are “Just north of everyday”.

Even so, this development should not be surprising. al-Jazeera has been a credentialed news service at both the DNC and RNC conventions. The Democrats removed the al-Jazeera sign at their convention and replaced with a banner, hiding the Qatar-based network like an embarrasing in-law at a family function. The RNC appears more willing to just let the good times fly. It’s sad to see the Jazeera banner glowing brightly like some Olympic homage to extremism.

What makes Fox so bad that it falls short of a Canadian standard that allows al-Jazeera in? I did a bit more research on this, and it appears that the CRTC requires any foreign-based news network in Canada to broadcast at least 15% Canada-specific programming in the first year, ramping up to 35% after the fifth year. That’s a pretty tall order. CNN was grandfathered in under older regulations and appears to be free from complying with the rule.

I couldn’t find the exact regulation, but it does appear that the CRTC approved a Fox News Canada channel in 2000 and that Fox later decided against going forward with the project:

The CCTA attached to its request a letter dated 31 March 2004 from Fox News, the non-Canadian partner in Fox News Canada. In that letter, Fox News addressed the Fox News Canada service as follows: “Fox News does not intend to implement this service and therefore will not meet the extended deadline to commence operations.”

I would be interested to see how al-Jazeera will comply with the CRTC regulations for Canadian-specific content. There is a large Muslim population in Canada; perhaps they plan some local coverage from that angle.

In reality, the whole issue may be moot. The CRTC said any channel broadcasting Jazeera would have to agree to be responsible for content and essentially “edit out” any hateful language. Some have theorized that no one would be willing to take all that on since it means adding another level of production before they can even broadcast it. So while it may be legal to broadcast al-Jazeera, no one will carry them.

On the other hand, there’s probably an Muslim George Soros somewhere on the planet with more money to burn than he has terrorists to give it to, and hey, I hear Canada is lovely this time of year…

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