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by Jonathan van Bilsen

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of hosting a candidate’s forum, prior to the upcoming by-election for Durham Region. It was a taped event, in the Rogers Studio and is airing now. With the election less than a week away, this program will be a great way to meet six out of the nine candidates in the running.

As with anything I do in Durham Region, I promote it as much as possible on social media, as there are people who do not have access to Rogers. It is therefore available on YouTube, The Standard website, as well as on

I posted a short blurb along with the YouTube link, on Facebook, in several groups. Each time I hit enter, a message from the authorities at Facebook popped up. The message simply said ‘This post can't be shared. In response to Canadian government legislation, news content can’t be shared.’

Well, isn’t that an interesting dilemma? The federal government passed the ‘On-line News Act’ in the summer, and it is now taking effect. The issue is not just with Facebook. Google news has just released a statement, which reads ‘Google said Thursday it will remove Canadian news from its platforms and end existing deals with local publishers because of the Federal government's Online News Act, which forces digital giants to pay media outlets for content they share or otherwise repurpose.’

I fully understand media giants, like CBC, CTV, etc. spend a great deal of money gathering news, and it should be protected or financially compensated for it's use, but all I wanted to do was post a link, provided free by Rogers, to allow non-subscribers to watch the election forum. Thankfully, outlets such as our own Standard Media Group and the Focus Magazine, still allow us to post media on line, and hopefully that will not change.

There is of course, as with everything else in the world, a way around the ban. Simply set your VPN to another country and you will again have access and the ability to post, but it is a lengthy work-around.

Back to my initial issue of spreading the word about the candidates’ forum, which many people have asked me to share. It is running on Rogers TV and is also available on YouTube on the Rogers Channel, at It is also available on - and on The Standard News website, at

Local television, such as this, will help voters make informed decisions. This illustrates how blocking the posting of this type of news information should be re-thought by the powers that be.

Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on RogersTV, the Standard Website or YouTube.

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