Major broadcasters crack down on unauthorized footage in political ads

A screen shot of the attack ad against Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.
A screen shot of the attack ad against Liberal leader Justin Trudeau. Screen shot

TORONTO – Canada’s major news networks – including Shaw Media, which owns Global News – are refusing to air political advertising that uses their material without permission.

The letter, signed by the head of Shaw Media’s news division Troy Reeb along with the heads of CBC/Radio Canada, CTV and Rogers, notes partisan use of their content “may compromise our journalistic independence and call into questions our journalistic ethics.”

“We wish to advise that effective immediately our organizations will not accept any political advertisement which uses our content without our express authorization,” the joint statement reads. “We will not accept and will cease to broadcast any political advertisement if notified that such advertisement uses any other broadcaster’s content without its authorization.”

Quebecor, which owns the Sun News Network, was the lone major broadcaster not to sign the letter.

Former Liberal leader Stephane Dion has previously complained to Elections Canada about the unauthorized use of CTV footage in a series of Conservative attack ads aimed at Justin Trudeau.

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The statement was signed May 6, the day before the Ontario election officially began.

In the meantime, Ontario’s Chief Electoral Officer of Ontario issued a blackout on political advertising from May 7 through May 20, but for a different reason: That was aimed at preventing the governing Liberals from gaining an edge by having attack ads ready to air.  A second blackout begins June 10 and ends on election day June 12.

With files from The Canadian Press


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