Canada Releases Guiding Principles on Diversity of Content Online

News release

GATINEAU, June 30, 2021

Diversity of content online is key to ensuring healthy democratic societies. Exposure to diverse content can contribute to a healthier public discourse and greater social inclusion, while also countering disinformation and increasing people’s ability to participate in democratic processes.

Today, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage, announced the release of Guiding Principles on Diversity of Content Online on behalf of the Multi-Stakeholder Working Group led by Canada.

The guiding principles focus on four key themes:

  • the creation, access and discoverability of diverse content online;
  • the fair payment and economic viability of content creators;
  • the promotion of diverse, credible sources of news and information as well as resilience against disinformation; and,
  • the transparency of the impacts of algorithmic treatments of online content.

The guiding principles will continue to evolve over time to keep pace with a continuously evolving online environment, with a view to encouraging greater exposure to diverse online cultural content, information and news.

In the coming months, members of the Multi-Stakeholder Working Group will develop specific commitments and concrete actions to implement the principles within the scope of their responsibilities. The working group will also work towards building a larger international consensus between countries, the private sector and civil society organizations.

Quotes

“I want to thank the working group for its diligent work in developing these guiding principles. An international multi-stakeholder approach is essential to the success of this initiative. We can no longer ignore the challenges and opportunities that come with an increasingly digital world. We have to act now to ensure a healthy ecosystem online for all citizens. We are stronger when we work together as a global community.”

—The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage

“Diversity of online content is more crucial than ever. It is key to cultural enrichment, access to new and diverse ideas and vibrant debates within our society. Diverse cultural content for a broad audience is what the public, creators and creative industries need! I trust that the guiding principles on diversity of content, in which France took part, is an important step in that direction.”

— The Honourable Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, Minister of Culture, France

“The creation of the Guiding Principles on Diversity of Content Online is a milestone of international cooperation in media policy. It is important to work not only at the national and European level, but also beyond these borders, on common approaches to shape our online environment and ensure a diverse media landscape, which is more important than ever.”

—Professor Monika Grütters, Minister of State for Culture and the Media, Germany

“Diversity of content, produced and shared by the cultural, creative and news sectors, is essential to democracy and citizen empowerment. The Diversity of Content Online initiative has proved to be a very good multi-stakeholder platform to identify guiding principles that will help governments, businesses and civil society navigate in the ever evolving digital world. I look forward to continued cooperation among the members of the initiative and welcome its eventual expansion to new stakeholders.”

- The Honourable Antti Kurvinen, Minister of Science and Culture, Finland

“We are always supportive of multi-stakeholder engagement on digital policy. We strongly support a sustainable and diverse ecosystem of content online, reflected in our pioneering remuneration models for digital creators like AdSense and the YouTube Partner Program, as well as providing Canadians with access to a diverse range of content and information through our products and services. We look forward to continuing our productive participation in this initiative.’’

—Jason Kee, Government Affairs and Public Policy Counsel, Google Canada

“We are proud to have helped form these guiding principles from the perspective of a new entrant in the information economy. We believe these principles provide a critical framework for what we all need to work on—dominant corporations and startups alike. Vubble looks forward to sharing its specific commitments. Datasets as public utilities, explainable and auditable AI, privacy-focused first party data from a citizen’s perspective . . . Let’s reimagine the information ecosystem and start building it.”

—Tessa Sproule, Co-Chief Executive Officer, Vubble

"We welcome the process that led to the formulation of these principles, which recognize the need to support and ensure the dissemination of a diversity of cultural expressions in the digital environment. These principles will certainly advance regulatory efforts to ensure this diversity in the digital environment, an objective that is dear to civil society."

—Guillaume Prieur, representative of the French Coalition for Cultural Diversity and Secretary of the International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity

Quick facts

  • Access to diverse content, with different viewpoints and perspectives, allows for healthy and informed public debates, encourages social inclusion and encourages understanding between countries, cultures and communities.

  • Budget 2019 provided funding to lead an international initiative to develop guiding principles on diversity of content online.

  • Diversity of content in this context is defined as a diversity of sources, ideas and viewpoints, a variety of content types or genres, as well as the level of exposure and consumption of diverse content by an individual.

  • The Multi-Stakeholder Working Group includes representatives from governments, the private sector and civil society:

    • Australia
    • Canada
    • Finland
    • France
    • Germany
    • Deezer
    • Google
    • Netflix
    • Vubble
    • Article19
    • Coalition française pour la diversité culturelle
    • International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity
    • Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music
    • European Audiovisual Observatory

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Contacts

For more information (media only), please contact:

Camille Gagné-Raynauld
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage
camille.gagne@canada.ca

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage
819-994-9101
1-866-569-6155
pch.media-media.pch@canada.ca

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