OTTAWA, June 22, 2022 – The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today expressed shock and dismay at a CRTC decision to approve the terms of renewal for the broadcasting licences of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) / Radio-Canada (RC) including its linear TV and radio services in both English and French, due to the CRTC’s removal of conditions of licence and clear disdain for the Broadcasting Act and the public interest.
“The CRTC just handed the CBC/RC even more ‘flexibility’ than they asked for to reduce local programming and news,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel of PIAC. “This Decision is a five-year golden ticket to do whatever CBC wants, not what the Canadian viewing public needs or desires. This is unacceptable for ‘Canada’s national public broadcaster’.”
In both written and oral submissions, PIAC together with the National Pensioners Federation (NPF) argued against excessive freedom for CBC/RC to abandon exhibition requirements for Canadian shows on ‘linear’ TV and radio – which millions of Canadians across Canada use daily to access important local news and programming. Instead, the CRTC ordered that the CBC/RC’s ‘online’ undertakings could effectively be substituted for many traditional TV and radio requirements.
PIAC and NPF argued for only a two year licence renewal in order to wait for new broadcasting legislation and also due to the absence of CBC-RC revenue projections past 2022. PIAC and NPF filed evidence with the CRTC demonstrating Canadians, especially seniors, were concerned about potential reduction of original local programming and news on TV and radio. Two CRTC commissioners dissented from the Decision and agreed that the record did not support a five-year licence renewal, especially while removing most key licence requirements on TV service.
PIAC and NPF will now study all avenues of appeal of the Decision.
For more information, please contact:
Executive Director and General Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)
(613) 562-4002 ext. 125
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