Canada to launch digital charter to combat hate speech and misinformation

May 16 2019, 4:34 pm

Canada will be launching a digital charter as a means of fighting hate speech and misinformation online.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the initial announcement on Thursday morning at the VivaTech Technology Conference in Paris, a three-day gathering of startups and global leaders.

“Online platforms are being co-opted to undermine democracy and circulate disinformation,” says Trudeau during the VivaTech conference. “Understandably, people are losing trust in digital institutions.”

Canada’s new digital charter will be launched in the coming weeks, according to Trudeau.

“We will be launching a brand new digital charter,” says Trudeau. “This charter will outline what Canadians can expect from both the government and the private sector as it relates to the digital landscape.”

“It will touch on principals like digital access and transparency and serve as our guide as we continue to craft digital policy.”

Trudeau also says that digital platforms that fail to comply with Canada’s soon-to-be-launched charter could be subject to hefty financial penalties.

“There is a responsibility to keep citizens safe, including when they’re in online spaces,” he tells reporters. “If they do not choose to act, we will be forced to act in ways that protect Canadians.”

Details regarding any consequences are slim, however, and there’s no word as to how much the penalties will cost or how they’ll be applied.

“We will have more to say about the kinds of tools we will be using in the coming weeks and months.”

Trudeau also announced at the conference that Canada had joined a handful of other government leaders in joining the Christchurch Call to Action, a global commitment to fight terrorist and extremist content that surfaces on the internet.

The Christchurch Call includes enforcing laws to combat hateful content and encouraging media to apply a set of ethical rules when reporting on terrorist events.

More information regarding Canada’s new digital charter is expected within the coming weeks.

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