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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to reporters in Ottawa on May 9. The Liberal Party received backlash from media organizations and civil liberties groups over a policy that could lead to journalists having to disclose their confidential sources.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday he will not implement a Liberal Party policy passed at its weekend convention that could lead to journalists having to disclose their confidential sources.

The Liberals have faced backlash from media organizations and civil liberties groups after adopting a resolution asking the government to “explore options” for making online information services publish material based only on named sources.

Conservative heritage critic Rachael Thomas called the Liberal policy, which is aimed at combatting disinformation, a “form of censorship.” The Canadian Civil Liberties Association warned it would “seriously chill the freedom of the press.”

Mr. Trudeau told reporters it “is not a policy we would ever implement.”

“We will never harm journalists’ capacity to do the professional, independent work that they do,” he said.

“Rigorous, challenging, independent journalism is essential.”

The Liberal Party resolution, which passed on Saturday, calls on the government to hold online news and information services accountable for the truth of material published on their platforms. It requests that the government “limit publication only to material whose sources can be traced.”

The resolution was passed by party members, making it Liberal policy. It was proposed by B.C. Liberals and had been discussed for around a year and a half by Liberal party members before being chosen for a vote at the Liberal national convention.

Mr. Trudeau also weighed in on the debate about the online news bill Tuesday, calling Facebook, “deeply irresponsible and out of touch” for not wanting to compensate journalists under Bill C-18.

He made his remarks after Facebook executives attended the Commons heritage committee on Monday and renewed their warning that the social-media giant would block Canadians’ access to news if Bill C-18 passes in its current form.

Facebook’s head of public policy for Canada, Rachel Curran, told MPs that although news “has a real social value,” it “doesn’t have much of an economic value to Meta,” Facebook’s parent company.

Google’s vice-president of news, Richard Gingras, told a Senate committee last week that news is not a big money-maker or draw for advertisers.

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But Mr. Trudeau told reporters that “the argument that the Internet giants are putting forward is not just flawed, it’s dangerous to our democracy, to our economy.”

Facebook declined to comment on the Prime Minister’s comments.

On Monday Nick Clegg, Facebook’s president of global affairs, didn’t turn up to address the Commons heritage committee because the company had deemed the title of the day’s hearing “confrontational.”

He had previously accepted an invitation to appear, but decided not to come after the hearing’s title was posted. The hearing was called “Tech Giants’ Use of Intimidation Tactics” but MPs voted to change it Monday.

The committee’s chair, Hedy Fry, has since issued a summons for Mr. Clegg to appear on May 15, after a vote by MPs who expressed dismay at his failure to appear on Monday.

At that meeting Kevin Chan, Facebook’s global policy director, read out Mr. Clegg’s statement to MPs. At the end, after being thanked for appearing by Ms. Fry, Mr. Chan was heard saying “so reprehensible,” in an apparent reference to the hearing.

Ms. Fry, who heard his remark, informed him that he was speaking into an open mike, that everyone had heard him and that his comment was inappropriate.

Laura Scaffidi, spokeswoman for Pablo Rodriguez, said about the committee that “Facebook representatives confirmed that they would rather pull news off their platform than comply with any new Canadian laws or regulations that would come into effect.”

The Senate transport and communications committee is also examining Bill C-18 and on Tuesday heard from the National Council of Canadian Muslims, who asked for changes to the bill “so that news businesses that promote hate are not eligible to be funded by big tech companies.”

Karine Devost, the organization’s senior legal counsel, said “the eligibility criteria in the bill should be clarified to prevent news businesses that spread hate from being able to access potentially millions of dollars in future funding.”

She said the bill as drafted could have “significant unintended consequences for Muslim Canadians, immigrants and other diverse Canadians, especially in Quebec.” She argued for a code of ethics empowering the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission, “or another regulatory body, to address and resolve public complaints when news businesses peddle hate.”

Senators questioned whether this could threaten a free press.

Senator Paula Simons, a former journalist, said she was “deeply concerned that there should be any effort to control or censor what is in print.”

Senator Julie Miville-Dechêne, also a former journalist, asked: “Who decides what is good journalism and what is discriminatory? That is the whole problem. A free press: You cannot have a regulatory body decide on that.”

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