Beware politicians who try to muzzle the media
How simple it seems to be, to spread the anti-democratic, or Trumpian, philosophy! Ontario is witnessing a homegrown attempt to divert the democratic process by turning against the Fourth Estate. The press in Canada has a long and proud history of holding governments to account, but Premier Doug Ford is trying to limit their access, and their freedom.
We tend to take as a given that the press is free to examine and comment on the government, and it is even enshrined in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Our repatriated Constitution is quite clear on Freedom of the Press.
Controlling the narrative has been found useful in protecting leaders like Donald Trump, and now Ford, from the truth. They don’t like being watched as they go about their business of dismantling of democratic institutions, and they certainly don’t like being criticized. Ford’s Ontario News Now channel is set up to tailor the news to suit his own self-image, rather than to disseminate a true picture of Ontario’s political and social situation. To emphasize his fear of the press, Ford is refusing to talk directly with reporters, unless it’s to condemn them.
Any attempt to come between the press and the general public is essentially a fascist initiative, and must be resisted at all cost. There are doubtlessly many Ontarians who are delighted to see the press sidetracked like this, but they should bear in mind that dictatorships begin by muzzling the free press and convincing citizens that it’s for their own benefit, rather than for the purpose of circumventing the democratic process. The U.S., and now Ontario, are being taken over by right-wing extremists, and who will be next? Every province’s democratic government is vulnerable to the same sort of subversive action. We should all be prepared to resist any fascists tyle attack on our rights and freedoms, and one good way to do that is to support the free press.
It’s a sad commentary on our society, that we have so quickly forgotten the lessons of the 1930s. Fascism can appear to a politician as a way to get his platform into law, to “cut the Gordian knot” of opposition, or clarity, or the truth. Our fathers and grandfathers fought and many died to combat the rise of Fascism, and we really should try to honour their memory by resisting the same fascist control in our own country. “Antifa” doesn’t have to be violent, but it does have to be strong.