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Canadian Election and eMedia

May 3, 2011

Google Canada's logo on election day

Canadians are voting in a national election today (Monday, 2 May in Canada). Although the polls close at 7:00PM in Newfoundland and Labrador, the public will have to wait until 10:00PM, when polls close in British Columbia, before the media is legally able to discuss the results. Section 329 of the Elections Act prohibits the transmission of the results of any poll to people who have not yet voted. Although the country is separated into five time zones, electronic media doesn’t recognize these boundaries. The CBC closed all comments on stories relating to the election for several hours to comply with the law. The Globe and Mail online also explained that they would be holding back on the reporting of live election results. Although individuals using Twitter, blogs, Facebook, and other social media sites are also legally prohibited from commenting until after the last polls close in the West, The Next Web explains that these sites will be extremely difficult to police. Real-time media is here to stay, and our practices and laws will need to be adjusted to recognize this reality.

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