CBC/Radio-Canada welcomes blueprint for action for public broadcasting

February 28, 2008, Ottawa

Canada’s national public broadcaster welcomes CBC/Radio-Canada: Defining Distinctiveness in the Changing Media Landscape, the report issued this morning by the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.

“It’s positively encouraging to see the Committee recognize the value of public broadcasting to Canadians – on all platforms, old, new and emerging,” said Hubert T. Lacroix, President and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada. “In the face of sweeping cultural, technological and industrial change, Canadians need a place for distinctive Canadian content. This report to the Government asserts the meaning and importance of public broadcasting for all Canadians, and shows how it improves our democratic and cultural lives.”

From the report itself: “The Committee regards CBC/Radio-Canada as an essential public institution that plays a crucial role in bringing Canadians closer together… The vast majority of the evidence stressed the distinctiveness of CBC/Radio-Canada, reflected in the quality, originality and creativity of its programming. Being distinctive should not however mean being inaccessible. Its services must be accessible to the various elements of the Canadian public.”

CBC/Radio-Canada is especially pleased to see that the Committee’s report calls for a new relationship and a renewable arrangement between Canadians and their public broadcaster: their proposed Memorandum of Understanding would establish a seven-year plan which would set out what services Canadians could expect from their public broadcaster and the resources necessary to provide them.

“The proposed seven-year cycle – with increased, committed funding indexed to the cost of living for its duration – would go a long way to help fulfil a new promise to Canadians and ensure that people’s expectations of public broadcasting may be measured and met against collectively set goals,” said Mr. Lacroix. “In all, the Committee’s report has very aptly captured the challenges facing public broadcasting in Canada and provided valuable recommendations for the future.”

CBC/Radio-Canada looks forward to working with this Committee, the Government and the public to develop a new long-term arrangement. Meantime, the Committee’s report recognizes that the continued health of public broadcasting requires a more urgent response on a couple of fronts, including the funding of the transition to HD, and the financing of new digital content.

“I commend the Committee for having produced a thorough and, more importantly, a truly actionable blueprint for the future of public broadcasting in Canada,” said Mr. Lacroix. “And I think I speak for all who believe in Canadian public broadcasting when I say that we look forward to the Government’s response.”

About CBC/Radio-Canada

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.

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