Monday, October 15, 2007

Oh, gee, democracy's dying a little bit in Canada today too

With news of the Big Brother-like PM media centre to be controlled by the government and supplanting the National Press Theatre which is run by journalists. Undermining independent media coverage of the federal government by making journalists play by Harper rules in a Harper-run media sandbox...why that's the hallmark of such luminaries on the present world stage as Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush. Why is Harper moving our democracy in that direction? Here's a helpful video reminder of Harper's contempt for the media, including his own views where you can just see the disdain oozing from his demeanour in an exchange with Terry Molefsky of CBC:

Harper thinks people won't pay attention to such issues...he doesn't think the public cares. Really? An excerpt from the Star, well discussed today, but reproduced, because it's reprehensible and if someone hasn't seen it and will by reading this, then good:
The Prime Minister's Office, which has long had a rocky relationship with the national media, has been working on a secret project to build a new, government-controlled briefing room at the cost of $2 million, documents obtained by the Star show.

Long kept under wraps, the plan – codenamed the Shoe Store Project – is in the works by the Privy Council Office and the PMO to establish a new government-controlled media briefing centre near Langevin Block.

The yellow-brown building that now houses Stephen Harper and his senior staff would supplant the current National Press Theatre, just a block away.

The National Press Theatre, used by prime ministers and cabinet ministers since Lester B. Pearson opened it in 1965, is a venue with simultaneous translation where on-the-record news conferences are moderated by press gallery executive members – not Harper's political staff.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, for the first time in over 40 years, a Prime Minister is no longer able to face the media mano-a-mano. He's afraid and must control.

What a sorry, authoritarian state of affairs.