ontario news watch

Canadian media a target for foreign interference: national security committee chair

OTTAWA — Foreign actors are trying to interfere with the Canadian media, and journalists and their bosses need to be aware of it, the chairman of Parliament’s national security committee warned on Wednesday.

All forms of media, including mainstream media, are being subjected to interference by bad actors, Liberal MP David McGuinty said.

McGuinty said he can’t divulge specifics because the information is classified.

The media was singled out in a recent review by the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, which McGuinty chairs.

It highlights how China and India are interfering with Canadian media content through direct engagement with journalists and media executives.

“Foreign interference is definitely in the media, and it is singled out in the review, not only in our most immediate review but in our past review,” McGuinty told reporters Wednesday.

“You should read it and take it to your owners and editors.”

The latest report said there are examples of China paying to publish media articles without attribution, sponsoring media travel to China, pressuring journalists to withdraw articles and creating false accounts on social media to spread disinformation.

The report also said India developed a network of contacts through which it conducts interference activities involving journalists, members of ethnocultural communities and MPs.

The redacted report is based on secret intelligence, which often doesn’t paint a full picture and does not equate to evidence.

These states target Canada to exploit its open society and penetrate institutions to meet their objectives, the committee’s 2019 report outlines.

That includes manipulating the media, which the 2019 report said poses a significant risk to the rights and freedoms of Canadians and the country’s sovereignty.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 12, 2024.

Mickey Djuric, The Canadian Press