How To Reshape News in Canada

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The CBC is dead.  The Cons have been granted their wish, they’ve killed it with 1,000 cuts (well, 1,500) and public news and the image of ‘honest’ journalism is dead in Canada.

There, I’ve said it.  Let’s move on and let’s have an honest talk about what we can do now that the CBC is no longer with us.

Years ago, many private news companies in Canada knew that the best way to create the news for corporate interests (and not report it) was to consolidate their efforts.  In effect, the chose solidarity in news reporting and put it under the banner of ‘Canadian Press’, or CP.

Under a non-profit organization, to boot.

CP is owned and operated by TorStar, CTVGlobeMedia (Bell, CTV, the Globe and Mail) and Gesca or Victoria Square Communications Group (both subsidiaries of Power Corporation).

For half a decade, they’ve been selling press releases and other content to the CBC for narration under the guise of public broadcasting.

Here’s the kicker:  as Canadian taxpayers, we’re paying ourselves to be brainwashed.

So, for those that weep about the demise of the CBC, look again.  You’re being played a fool and it’s important that you accept this before we have a serious talk about what we as Canadians can REALLY do to create real news in this country.

First, we need to take back our Internet.  We need to do something simple like start a Kickstarter campaign or something similar that will raise enough money to generate a serious bid for the next chunk of spectrum space or attack this city by city with customer-owned investment and installation plans.

We have to build our own network because the existing owners of the networks can’t be trusted to act in our best interest.  Investors in the network will be given participation rights and opportunities to vote on structure and key logistical considerations.

We get a million pissed off customers to pay in $1,000 and we’ll have a billion to start from.

Think $1,000 is too much?  That’s a year’s worth of wireless bills for the average Canadian.  Or about 3 months of the all-you-can-eat cable/phone/internet packages that we lap up on a regular basis.

Any progress will be good enough, as it will push momentum in our favour.  The future of companies like Bell and Rogers will become suspect, to say the least, as their only true rule is to act as gate keepers.  Once the fences are taken down, they won’t be able to control access to content.

And the ‘new’ internet doesn’t have to be built by individuals.  Cities and provinces can participate too.  All it takes is a simple legislative stroke to require any new road or infrastructure projects to include about a foot of fibre optic cable any time the roads are open.

All it takes is one city or province to decide that they want to do this and the rest will fall into place.  Stratford is trying, but they aren’t quite there.  Yet …

Next, we need to do what the big companies do and consolidate our efforts.  In large part, we already have the tools to do this thanks to numerous social networks and search tools, but they aren’t good enough because they’re prone to censorship.

Since we’ll own our Internet, censorship won’t be an option.  All Canadians will have an opportunity to add their own stories, have them voted on and ultimately reported on to other Canadians.

News will be ours again.

News will be new.

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