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Muzzled: Secret Censorship of the Media in Canada

Updated on January 3, 2020
Claudine Fleury profile image

My colleagues in the media know I am old and been around the block.


Follow the Money, Money and Money...

The most obvious way censorship of the media occurs is through paid advertising in print, radio and television commercials. If you see an ad on a newsprint page, or a commercial on the radio or television, it is this 'sponsorship' who paid money to support that specific media outlet.

If it is in print, the ad, price by size and colors, and ad placement in the newspaper is calculated at an individual, small business, corporate or non profit rate. Obviously, the front page or certain highlighted sections, or pop sections are higher in price and pricing depends also on frequency and duration. No big secret.

But, what is not so obvious is the agenda and/or politics of the purchasing advertiser who certainly does influence topics presented in media. And...what is their product, service or angle they are trying to sell you?

Globalized Monopolies Expend the Most on Market Research...

Some huge globalized corporations, you know who they are, monopolies, spend millions each quarter in surveys, studies, focus groups and testing including using psychological and suggestive methods on how to best sell you their stuff. Period.

How can I make Bob and his bros drool all over themselves when they see that big juicy dripping with grease hamburger and fries on commercial breaks during the game?

How can I get Jo Jo Public to buy my new product or service by strategically placing my ad, considering demographics of that section, to buy me or call me now? A call to action.

What does the editor have to offer in his/her newspaper or programming to encourage the buyer to buy ads and ensure quotas are met to cover promotional costs, pay staff and overhead and make a profit, too? We need to really know our viewers and audience...

Market Research and Data Collection


Let us get inside your head and pick your brains apart! Brains! Brains!

You can be sure you won't find a tampon ad in the sports section or a restaurant ad near the obituaries. Catch my drift?

How can I make Suzie feel insecure about herself by showing the youngest, buffed, tanned and photoshop'd models so she will buy our make-up, gym membership or weight loss product?

On the radio for instance, the morning show with Ren and Stimpy is sponsored by who exactly? Listen to the commercial. It pays their salaries and commissions.

Much of this is all studied through market research, data collection and mining, viewer and buyer statistics, collecting demographic data, auditing and so forth. Big business or corporations decipher the data and the marketing department creates the scripts, visuals and commercials you see and hear to move you to action. This is the for profit way. Viola. You're sold.

Corporate Marketing Goal: Substantial Annual Profits for the Shareholder


So How does this Muzzle the Media?

Well, everyone seems to have an agenda or mission, not always negative of course, be it political, for profit, non profit, charity or corporation who seek paid advertising as well as organic (free) publicity. Many want to go viral, gain more followers, be a star and get more hits resulting in gain of some sort. There are pros and cons to it all, but that is another story.

Political or Corporate Monopolies, maybe both?

For example, Alberta was governed by the Conservative Party for about 33 years and was a political monopoly for decades. Albertans are well aware they used authority and influence to manipulate and suggest as parties do, Conservatives'; followers, businesses or products and services of their voters and political funders' affiliation and preference. It was an old boys club some said.

For instance, at Moe's Hockey Club Play Offs, special people to the party may have bought up front row seats or sky boxes to give away promo VIP tickets to their political and corporate club "friends". Maybe it was a concert or gala instead? Let's rub shoulders and all that jazz. Do we feel warm fuzzy and important now?

Political Machines: Power and Influence over Media


What other options are there?

And hell, if you mention the slashing of environmental protection laws or the effects of climate change caused by corporate pollution in the popular media, you better go work for a non profit media source.

Options? Why do we not have more non-profit popular national media? Even the CBC is an arms length government funded and influenced organization who rarely criticizes the hand that feeds them. The media are also governed by the Canadian Radio and Broadcasting Corporation CRTC. Be polite. We monitor your programming.

Don't be controversial like that whistle blower Edward Snowden who whistle blew on the NSA or anyone like Howard Stern, Alex Jones or Russell Brand. We don't want to teach our polite media to really exercise their freedom of expression and I am not talking about social media or a random website. Maybe unless you are W5. Don't offend a viewer or listener lest we lose them and their money! PBS is American and they still depend on donations from viewers like you.

So again, money. American corporations can shout out loud and offend because they can afford it, they have a larger viewing audience, and more money to invest, lose or gain so they take educated market risks. Freedom of speech and press are also mentioned many times a day on any given network.The extreme diversity of media in the U.S. can be off putting to the polite Canadian, eh? There it is all about the highest ratings and profits for sure. In Canada...can you actually boastfully toot Charter Rights in the media anymore? I'm not so sure.

Everyone Over Kills What is Trending. Dare to be Different!


Ignorance is Bliss Until Your Own Rights are Compromised...

According to Freedom of Press Watch Dogs around the globe, Canada ranks anywhere between 4th and 18th but this is only based on lawful rights to expression NOT controls on media influenced by capitalistic, corporate and political manipulation of media with power, authority, influence, promises of advertising or grant funding or crony capitalistic tactics. You help my buddy, my buddy will help you. Then there is no record of it. Wink, wink.

You see this all the time with the bombardment of brainwashing commercials from within U.S. programming to the point people have turned to Android boxes and Amazon Sticks and cut off their cable to be commercial free or pay for streaming media like Netflicks. Even once free Youtube, is now littered with advertisements.

Consider, in Canada, the media must also adhere to court 'gag orders' put on the media for many criminal and civil matters which is considered a heavy restriction on Charter Rights. A "gag law" or publication ban limits freedom of the press, enforces a type of censorship and restricts access to information.


Have We All been Muzzled and Bullied Too Much?

You're talking crazy, are you coo coo for coco puffs? Is it easier to just lower ones' gaze and sigh because we are way too polite to admit such things are true? And we wonder why so many are chronically depressed or on stress leaves hungering for meaning, truth and progress in life and within the nation?

I suppose this is why so many in Canada volunteer or work for non-profits or charities, where they earn severely lower salaries compared to those in similar positions in corporations.They choose to not be bought or have a price on their foreheads.

Buy or donate, it is one or the other. The U.S. boasts a police and surveillance state more advanced than Canada, so why are we still so polite about these issues? One can only peacefully protest so much with inaction and false promises as continual response. Canadian rights and freedoms are eroding away and there are even new preventative laws against hosting such protests in public parks. Who is to blame? Follow the money.

You know what Americans say about Canadians? This is Canadian: "Please refrain from the continuance of your agenda as it is not politically acceptable or compassionate to our nation." In American, it just simply means... "f*ck off!"


Trends in the Past become Future Norms...

``There had been a trend toward publication bans and restrictions on the press,'' says Jamie Cameron, a free-speech expert at the University of Toronto's Osgoode Hall School of Law. ``One would have expected more, not less, freedom of speech since 1982. But my own perception is that exactly the opposite has happened.''

Noted in the Christian Science Monitor about the Karla Homolka case.

The point being all you have to do is spend a few weeks observing court houses in Canada to realize how many cases are gagged. How often do you hear in the media in Canada about law suits against corporations, on white collar crime or political crimes under the Accountability Act or results published by the Office of the Public Integrity Commissioner of Canada? You do not.

It must be noted, however, CSIS, CSEC and the RCMP do not fully enforce the law on the whole of Canada's population..only the working middle class and the working poor or those facing poverty. The government, corporations, politicians, public servants and the wealthy are examples of segments in our nation who are not fully enforced by law, investigated by law or charged by law. The media cannot report to the public, if there is no access to investigations, civil settlements, gag orders or publication bans by the court, or private dismissals with no criminal charges to avoid publicity.

And the few reported, which were not handled quietly by termination to avoid publicity, still benefit from sizeable pensions and maintain their public integrity. This is the polite Canadian way if you are a public figure or wealthy. Many lawful acts which involve white collar crime are rarely enforced in Canada upon public figures such as celebrities, corporate figures with political pull, politicians, public servants, or the wealthy in the nation who can afford the best defense and also afford to drag out civil law suits for decades when the plaintiff often cannot afford it and gives up.

You see! Follow the money, money, money!

The Defense of Freedom Involves Risk...


Risk to Journalists...

The other issue is offending or offering criticism or bad publicity costing popularity and sales. Some fear losing readers or viewers, being sued or made liable in some way by a civil law suit which this could be very costly to ones organization. There, however, exists something called Corporate Liability Insurance. This is purchased in many millions in coverage depending on your corporate or non-profit size and risk, protection in case of criminal, civil liabilities or law suit expenses. What happens behind closed doors most often stays there. Yet, this is also protection for Editors and Journalists in the Canadian Media.

How do you think all those corporate moguls who 'cook the books' with creative accounting and wealthy shareholders can afford the most expensive law firms per se like Michael Jackson and O.J Simpson? Another example, the case of Lord Baron Conrad Black of Hollinger International from Montreal was charged with fraud and obstruction of justice. Hollinger was the third largest media monopoly empire in the world and in Canada.

He was convicted to a 6½ year sentence which was reduced to 3½ years.The $6.1 million fine was reduced to $4.1 million in 2013. In 2019, President Trump awarded Black, a Conservative, (Republican) a full pardon six years later. He had been supported by bail bonds by Conservative philanthropists and regardless of his criminal conviction, they supported him nonetheless? Yet the Conservatives were the first ones to draw up tough on crime laws. And the Liberals have not made any corrections or restorations as yet.

How about celebrity Martha Stewart of the U.S. who received a special cell, luxuries and celebrity treatment while in jail only to resume her career barely tarnished upon release? Public forgiveness is apparently only for a select affluent. Yet, average citizens released must face judgement, prejudice and unemployment. Where is the forgiveness then?

Money buys influence and influence sways justice and money and justice, even if there is bias, sway the media and popular public opinion.

Observe with New Insight...


Wealth buys Lobbyists, Status and Privilege...

Regular citizens are continually denied pardons after many years of repetitive applications both in Canada and America. Black Media Press and its' Canadian newspapers held the Conservative Party perspective, supporting as well as protecting Conservatives and held a monopoly over news and the content assigned to Journalists in Canada.

Content, for example, did not often allow for freedom of speech and expression to include any other political platforms, cultures, diversity or criticism of the Conservative Party in Alberta or Canada. Journalists who needed to work had little choice but to concede to the employer's special interest agenda. Just like many religious organizations or special interest groups only hire those who demonstrate or concede affiliation to them, which in reality, is a polite form of financial black mail and discrimination. My agenda is now your agenda or no money for you.

So, look at a media outlet, see who has majority shares and control of ownership, then you may observe their political and corporate affiliations of special interests which direct the content there. Whether they are a private or public company, see who they support and sponsor and who advertises with them. If they are a non- profit or charity, who are their biggest donors? What are the big accounts or sponsorships there and what is that account's political affiliation? Money always tells a story of affiliations. Who is controlling your journalists and content?

Again...follow the money, money, money.


Believe it or not.

Muzzling, pressures, surveillance and discrimination against Journalists, Whistle Blowers, Activists and those involved in Social Justice protests still exists. This includes police harassment, unwarranted searches without warrants, false arrests, financial audits, false accusations and scrutiny about affiliations. It certainly has absolutely nothing to do with safety or terrorism but this is the excuse used to breach Charter Rights and Freedoms everyday in Canada. It is even harder to prove when it is ones' word against the word of authoritarian figures. As one RCMP officer said to me last year, "Everyone we arrest is guilty of something anyway." I said, "Oh, I thought everyone was considered innocent until proven guilty."

© 2019 Claudine Chaboyer


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