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Harper’s No Spin Bunker?

Somehow this doesn’t seem right:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been working on a secret project to build a $2-million government-controlled media centre, a newspaper reported Monday…

The new briefing centre would supplant the 47-year-old National Press Theatre, a venue where government news conferences are moderated by the executive members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery Association, a group of newspapers, broadcasters and other media outlets who report on Parliament Hill…

Not knowing much about press on Parliament Hill, I wondered, “what could the reason for this be?” One answer:

One document obtained by the Star stated that the new centre is part of efforts to “put in place robust physical and information security measures to protect the prime minister and cabinet.” …

Paranoid, but, OK, maybe reasonable. (Then again, what exactly is “information security” as it relates to the PM’s press briefings?) More:

According to documents, the new centre could give the government control over which journalists attend news conferences.

Ah. Now that, it seems to me, should be illegal. It’s certainly undemocratic.

The government would also have the ability to do its own filming at the events, and could provide the footage to journalists, instead of letting them film the events themselves, the Star reported….

They could even do their own interviews!

Also reported in the article, Harper “has only made one appearance at the National Press Theatre, on Oct. 3.”




  1. Tracey Tracey 2007-10-16

    I believe this is called a government propaganda unit! China and other such great bastions of democracy do the same.

  2. james james 2007-10-17

    This is the most iron curtain era move by Harper…

    Don’t talk to the media, don’t let the MPs talk to the media, now control the media?? The national press should refuse to attend. and give him no coverage. Remember, the only thing worse that being talked about by the press is NOT being talked about.

    Disgusting. Undemocratic. Unacceptable.

    Poor Harper thinks the media is pro-liberal??? They go after ANYONE who is in power! That is their job!!! Keep everyone honest! Can’t take it? Two word: Private Life

  3. PA PA 2007-10-18

    Freedom of information is a right in a DEMOCRACY, is it not? We worried about “1984, BIG BROTHER, and Animal Farm”, becoming a reality. Are we that far away from this, or are we going in that direction, lead by our ELECTED officials all in the interest of National Security, and Privacy of Information, or is it just control of information that we the people cannot deciminate without help to understand.

  4. Hugh Hugh 2007-10-18

    @tracey: well, i would say all government/party press activity is propaganda these days, probably always has been.

    @james: we’ll see what the outcome really is. i think the press *is* pro-liberal (small-l) … but then generally so are canadians. but yes, this desire to have total control of who gets access to your message is really … well… undemocratic I think.

    @PA: hold on to your hats…

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