Internet, New Media and Social Media – Respect for Language Rights!

Internet, New Media and Social Media – Respect for Language Rights!

Internet, New Media and Social Media:
Respect for Language Rights!

A news release from the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages 

Ottawa, October 25, 2012 – The Government of Canada must make a clear commitment to respect Canadians’ language rights on the Internet and in new media and social media, regardless of their status or where they live, according to a report of the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages.

Entitled Internet, New Media and Social Media: Respect for Language Rights!, the committee’s report sheds light on how much both official languages are used in an environment where new technologies and Web 2.0 are gaining in popularity.

In looking into the issue of respect for both official languages online, the committee heard over 50 testimonies during public hearings that took place over nine months, starting in the fall of 2011.

According to last year’s annual report of the Commissioner of Official Languages, the vast majority of federal institutions have incorporated respect for linguistic duality into their Web practices since the mid-1990s. However, new tools and new ways of doing things have appeared over time. In the Web 2.0 era, immediacy and accessibility typify these new communication methods. The federal public administration needs to integrate this new philosophy into its practices and must do so with respect for Canada’s two official languages, which requires that an appropriate governance structure be implemented.

“The study showed that the Internet, new media and social media have incredible potential for developing official language minority communities,” said the Honourable Maria Chaput, the committee chair. “But to benefit from this potential, access to broadband and digital networks still needs to be provided. Federal institutions must also take steps to ensure the vitality of these communities.”

“Community vitality starts with young people, who are the future,” added the Honourable Andrée Champagne, P.C., deputy chair. “It is important to ensure the increased use of French. The new methods of communication are both an opportunity and a risk.”

The committee hopes that the recommendations in the report will be taken into consideration.

To read the committee’s report and recommendations, or to learn more about the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, go to

The Senate of Canada is on Twitter: @SenateCA, follow the committee using the hashtag #OLLO

Categories: Press Releases

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