The Big Ideas of 2008

Fighting For Air

As Adbusters heads back to court, we give an update and some background about our fight for commercial airspace.

Long-time readers of Adbusters may have noticed that we've been a little quiet about our ongoing legal battle to break the corporate monopoly on Canada's broadcast media. It hasn't been for lack of activity – in fact, some recent and welcome developments suggest that the case is about to pop back up onto the radar.

For those of you not quite up to speed, here's the gist: After over a decade of having our consumer-awareness TV spots rejected by just about every major commercial broadcaster in North America (often with little or no explanation from the network reps who issued the refusals), we resolved to take our fight to the courts. In 2004, we filed a lawsuit against the government of Canada and some of the country's biggest media barons, arguing that the public has a constitutionally protected right to expression over the public airwaves.

Following a series of false starts and the inevitable legal complications, the suit was whittled down to two main defendants: the government and CanWest Global Communications, Canada's largest international media corporation. The case is currently awaiting the resolution of two preliminary motions: one by Adbusters to add the CBC, Canada's publicly funded national broadcaster, as an additional defendant; the other by CanWest to strike the case before it even proceeds to trial.

Currently heading up Adbusters' case is attorney Ryan Dalziel, a specialist in commercial litigation with the Vancouver-based firm Bull, Housser & Tupper LLP. As Dalziel explains, "The main issue in those motions is whether it is so plain and obvious that CanWest and the CBC are not covered by [the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms] that the claims against them should be dismissed without a trial."

"This case is of public importance to Canadians," he adds, "and so we say it should be permitted to proceed to trial."

Canada's media regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Tele

44 comments on the article “Fighting For Air”

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candice the lost

what we need is an event. on a date that is in accordance to the results of deliberation. people could rally together using the internet as our tool of communication and plan to show our support. if you have been thinking of getting some backing from the people who you are trying to help please contact me: murdock.candice[at]gmail.com

Whiskerchild

I hope you win this battle. After Murdoch bought the Wall Street Journal, I knew quality journalism was doomed. I muddle along. I read Adbuster, Mother Jones, and various and sundry other news outlets, but it's hard to be informed on everything. I threw the TV out of my house two years ago; don't miss it a bit.

KL

Why are us anarchists seeking government regulations so we can communicate over their infrastructure? We sound both shrill and heavyhanded like Hugo Chavez here. Could we redirect these court costs into starting our own infrastructure? I have the same problem with the net neutrality debate. I know startup costs are astronomical, but don't we really just have to build our own infrastructure rather than hope for big government to intervene for us in theirs? Maybe I'm wrong, I don't know.

M

crushing freedom of speech and media is crushing freedom of mind and opinion. how can we live and be objective if we only know 5% of what we pass judgment on. Freedom of Media is much more important then people think.

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