CBC/Radio-Canada License Renewals: CRTC Must Do Its Homework

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Renewal of  CBC/Radio-Canada: the CRTC must redo its homework

The new Maison de Radio-Canada at daybreak on March 23, 2021

The renewal of the licenses of Radio-Canada and CBC in the form requested is rejected by the Governor General, who refers renewal applications to the CRTC, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, for reconsideration.

In a decision handed down on September 16 but which went unnoticed, the Governor General points out that she has received 16 requests to overturn the decision handed down on June 22 by the CRTC. Although the CRTC falls under her authority, the Governor General specifies that she is doing so on the recommendation of the Minister of Heritage, Pablo Rodriguez.

It points out in its decision that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (SRC) makes an important contribution to the achievement of the objectives of Canadian broadcasting policy as set out in the Broadcasting Act. She says she is convinced that this decision [of the CRTC] is not in line with the objectives of Canadian broadcasting policy.

It concludes its remand for reconsideration by expressing its view that it is essential that, as part of its reconsideration and re-hearing, the Commission consider how to ensure that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation , as the national public broadcaster, continues to make a significant contribution to the creation, presentation and dissemination of local news, children's programming, original French-language programming and ;programs produced by independent producers.

It was only Thursday that some associations linked to Canadian production took notice of this dismissal and applauded it.

Thus, ADISQ believes that the government has sided with the opinion of groups, in particular the Quebec Association of the Record, Show and Video Industry, which were concerned about license renewal terms and were asking for their revision. In its press release, ADISQ notes that for a rare time, the decision about the renewal had been endorsed by only three of the five councilors responsible for the decision.

ADISQ considered that the renewal conditions authorized by the CRTC would have undermined the production and distribution of Canadian content and would have resulted in a decline in the visibility of French-language content, the weakening of the broadcasting and setting a dangerous precedent for its deregulation.

The Quebec Media Production Association (AQPM) also welcomed the decision, accusing the CRTC of having withdrawn the set obligations with respect to independent production, the predominance of Canadian programming and the presence of programs of national interest on linear television, programming intended for children and young people, as well as programs in the original French language.

The President and CEO of the AQPM, Hélène Messier, underlines her appreciation for the fact that the Council of Ministers has recognized that this decision constitutes a dangerous precedent while a reflection is underway on the possible regulatory framework for online businesses.

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