Canadian television host, Ezra Levant, has revealed an effort by the Saudi Arabian government to censor Canadian television station CTV, more specifically the running of a commercial that criticizes the Saudi government’s human-rights record and encourages viewers to buy Canadian oil instead.
“We caught this foreign dictatorship trying to undermine freedom of the press here in Canada and trying to export its own contempt for democracy, its own contempt for freedom of the press here in Canada,” Alykhan Velshi, Ethicaloil.org founder, told the Toronto Sun.
Rahool Agarwal, one of the lawyers at Norton Rose, has been contacting broadcasters across Canada, threatening them if they air the ad. Already two networks have capitulated in the face of such threats, including CTV, Canada’s biggest private broadcaster. Agarwal has also threatened EthicalOil.org with a lawsuit, too. He won’t say for what — he clearly has no legal case. But the point is silencing dissent. And it’s working.
The only way we heard about this campaign of threats was when one concerned Canadian who received a threat tipped us off. When our lawyer contacted Agarwal, he sounded genuinely surprised that he was caught. The Saudis prefer to operate under the radar.