Written by

Aminah Khan


The Impact of Bill C-18 on UWindsor’s Campus Media

Published On: Tue, Feb 13th, 2024, 10:08PMLast Updated: Wed, Feb 14th, 2024, 3:27PM3.2 min read
By Published On: Tue, Feb 13th, 2024, 10:08PMLast Updated: Wed, Feb 14th, 2024, 3:27PM3.2 min read

Campus media faces challenges with The Online News Act, raising concerns about the accessibility of student journalism. 

The Online News Act, or Bill C-18, has been introduced with the objective of compelling companies like Meta to financially contribute to the news shared on their social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. 

This raises questions about the implications for student journalism and the accessibility of news through social media. 

The consequences of the bill for campus media outlets such as CJAM radio and The Lance are substantial and restrict them from sharing news from those platforms.  

Dr. Kyle Asquith, Department Head for Communications, Media and Film acknowledges the bill could impact how students engage with news. “It’s nice to have news in their feeds because if the news is not in their feeds, they still get their information and opinions, but they’re getting it from people who don’t necessarily have journalistic training.” 

Asquith says these companies, like Meta, have a lot of power. Right from the start in terms of this legislation, they tried to demonstrate their power.” 

Walter Petrichyn, Station Manager at CJAM Radio, says the bill hinders the station’s ability to share news with its listeners. 

“At CJAM, we are still directly impacted by Bill C-18. Since August, our Facebook and Instagram accounts have been inaccessible to our Canadian listeners and supporters.” 

Petrichyn says the bill has an impact on student journalism as a whole. “In addition to that, we recently brought on a student journalist (as part of the Local Journalism Initiative funded by the Community Radio Fund of Canada) and with this ongoing bill, her stories do not have the same reach we used to before.” 

Like many students, Ashley Marie, a second-year Communications, Media and Film (CMF) student uses social media for her news.  

“The restrictions on Canadian news have forced me to be more resourceful in finding news sources. I, like many young people, go on social media as our main way of receiving news information.” 

Marie faces frustration when trying to find news. It’s disheartening because, as students, we rely on social media for our opinions to gauge the impact of our journalism on the community.” 

Sabrina Leclerc-Lepointe, a University of Windsor student, says she read her news through social media, before the ban. “It was the only place I consumed news. I now rely on my parents to keep me updated.” 

Leclerc-Lapointe says social media is the easiest way for university students to stay connected with current events, both nationally and on campus.  

Marie also recognizes the broader impact on public opinion, stating, “Social media is a significant force in shaping public opinion. It limits the diversity of opinions within our university community, affecting not just journalism but the overall discourse among students.” 

Asquith says, on the other hand, it could provide an opportunity for students to consume news differently. 

“I’m optimistic that the censorship be used as an opportunity because student journalism is so hyper-focused on a campus community. It is a chance to get students to go directly to Lance’s website regularly.” 

 CJAM remains committed to its mission of providing information to the community through radio broadcasting. 

To navigate the censorship challenges, CJAM has adopted alternative strategies, such as creating a new Instagram account called Friends of CJAM and exploring platforms like TikTok and Reddit.  

“The issue is we have to rebuild our followers from zero. Not all of our community members rely on social media, so this specific audience that is alienated from the ban are more technologically savvy I would say.” 

Looking ahead, Petrichyn plans to seek assistance from national editors, stating,

“I’ll be touching base with the National Editors from the Community Radio Fund of Canada to gain some assistance while making sure CJAM consistently carries a place for student journalism to live.'” 

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About Aminah Khan

I'm a Biochemistry undergrad at UWindsor who loves creative writing, crime thrillers, photography, and exploring various music genres.