Estonian-born Kalle Lasn, who founded the Adbusters Media Foundation, their associated eponymous magazine, and has significant influence in a global movement of media activists and anti-consumerists has taken Canwest Global, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), the Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC) and the Canadian Government to the British Columbia Supreme Court over the right to sue over permission to air public service announcements.
On January 7, 2008 the BC Supreme Court started deliberations considering whether the lawsuit – which was launched in 2004, – should proceed.
The issue, as expressed, centers on the right of Canadian citizens to have a "reasonable opportunity to be exposed to the expression of differing views on matters of public concern,” as stipulated in the Canadian Broadcasting Act.
"We want to air messages about some of the biggest issues of our time, including things like obesity, war, and media concentration, and some of our ads want to talk back against some very large corporations that we think are distorting our society," says Vancouver-based Lasn.
Lasn believes that every Canadian citizen should have the right to walk into his or her local TV station and pay for 30 seconds of airtime if it is in the public interest.
"Media have the right to refuse ads or editorial material, and that’s not censorship," said Nick Ketchum, senior director of broadcasting for CRTC. He adds,” the ads have to be consistent with the rules, regulations and values that they (the media outlet) represent."
"A high level of media concentration in Canada results in an obstacle to Canadians having a free marketplace of ideas," said Lasn.
He adds, "only four corporations -CanWest, Torstar, Quebecor and Gesca - control 72% of the county's daily newspaper circulation."
"It is a well documented fact that counting ads on television, the Internet, billboards and T-shirt logos, around 3,000 marketing messages a day register in the human brain," says Lasn.
Lasn says,” there is a generation of young people now who are rebelling against what they view as propaganda being disseminated by the media and are working for change."
Considering that most media relies on advertising much more than on the docile subscribers they should perhaps have the right to defend that revenue base as long as it is not dangerous. But that, according to Lasn, may not always be the case.
Kalle Lasn takes legal action against the feds (2)