Public Values

CRTC moving from individual TV licenses to group ones

Latest round of hearings will only propel further deregulation, critic says.

Group licenses will not guarantee Canadian content or support industry, critic saysThe latest round of hearings held by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) will do little to bolster the flagging fortunes of television production in Canada, critics say.

Speaking Monday at a rally on Parliament Hill, the New Democrat Critic for Culture and Heritage, Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay) said Canada’s television and other cultural industries play a vital role across Canada. And yet these key industries continue to be squeezed by regulatory changes at the CRTC.

"Here we go again with another in a long line of CRTC hearings. The objectives of these hearings might vary but the result is always the same: more media concentration, more deregulation while delivering less Canadian content and fewer jobs for the cultural sector," said Angus.

The latest round of hearings will examine whether broadcast giants should be allowed to move from individual licenses of television stations to broad group licenses.

Angus says it’s time to ask whether the CRTC's continual push for deregulation has helped exacerbate the crisis in Canadian television. "We've had 20 years of deregulation and the results have been dismal – gutted local markets, massive media concentration and meager obligations for Canadian content. So the fair question to ask is how will allowing big media corporations to amalgamate their Canadian operations improve Canadian programming and strengthen our broadcasting system?"

Angus says the CRTC must be accountable and transparent because its job is to protect the public interest.

"The CRTC needs to come clean with the Canadian public. Show us the evidence that its proposals for change will increase original Canadian content, raise expenditures on Canadian programming and give Canadians more opportunities to work in their own country’s broadcasting system."

The hearings on group licenses will overlap with another major CRTC hearing on compensation for television signals, which is set to start on December 7.

Links and sources
  CRTC web site

Posted: November 16, 2009

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