‘Some people were confused’ about his media-licensing comment, says Guilbeault

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OTTAWA — The minister responsible for overhauling Canada’s broadcasting and telecommunications sectors is trying to reassure Canadians that the federal government is not preparing to license news outlets.

Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault called a news conference today to clarify remarks he made in an interview aired over the weekend, in which he said the government would ask media outlets be licensed.

His remarks sparked a social-media firestorm, fanned by the Opposition Conservatives, over the prospect of the government using licensing requirements to censor news content.

Guilbeault says he was not referring to news organizations when he spoke about media outlets, but rather about organizations that produce and distribute cultural content.

Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner says Guilbeault did not walk back his comments far enough, saying there is still uncertainty over the government’s plans to revise Canada’s broadcasting and telecommunications laws.

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