CBC/Radio-Canada needs a contract with Canadians if it is to reach its potential as the national public broadcaster Canada needs. This is the message that Robert Rabinovitch, President and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada, delivered today on behalf of the Corporation to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage as part of its review of the role of a public broadcaster in the 21st century.
Today’s appearance was the second and final occasion for CBC/Radio-Canada to make the case for a new contract.
“The Broadcasting Act has not changed in more than 15 years, CBC/Radio-Canada has not received an increase to its base operating appropriation in more than 30 years, and the broadcasting environment is shifting dramatically and rapidly,” Mr. Rabinovitch told the Committee. “The national public broadcaster needs to remain relevant and to ensure that Canadians have access to its content when, where and how they want.”
Today, Mr. Rabinovitch asserted that a contract reviewed on a regular cycle would provide direction on what Canadians could expect from their national public broadcaster in return for a clear commitment from Government with regards to funding commensurate to the mandate.
“Such an approach is essential if CBC/Radio-Canada is going to be able to continue to respond to the needs of Canadians,” Mr. Rabinovitch said. “Countries such as the U.K., Ireland and South Africa have already followed a similar path, conducting mandate reviews that include widespread consultation, resulting in clear, contemporary mandates that equip public broadcasters for the future.”
Mr. Rabinovitch was accompanied by Executive Vice-President of English Services, Richard Stursberg, and Executive Vice-President of French Services, Sylvain Lafrance, who provided additional insight into issues of interest to Committee Members.
Mr. Rabinovitch's opening remarks are available . Previous documents on the topic tabled last March are available at http://www.cbc.radio-canada.ca/submissions/2007-pa.shtml.
CBC/Radio-Canada's submission outlines why Canada needs a public broadcaster; the role and value of public broadcasting; some of the more pressing challenges that the national public broadcaster faces; an overview of its 29 services; and, audience performance information.
CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada's national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. With 29 services offered on Radio, Television, the Internet, satellite radio, digital audio, as well as through its record and music distribution service and wireless WAP and SMS messaging services, CBC/Radio-Canada is available how, where, and when Canadians want it.
Through this array of activities, CBC/Radio-Canada brings diverse regional and cultural perspectives into the daily lives of Canadians in English, French and eight Aboriginal languages, in nine languages on its international Radio service, Radio Canada International, and in eight languages on its Web-based Radio service RCI viva, a service for recent and aspiring immigrants to Canada.