Action needed to protect television services: Access to Fee-for-carriage, a much needed first step

April 27, 2009

Speaking today to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, CBC/Radio-Canada’s President and CEO reiterated the public broadcaster’s commitment to remaining strongly rooted in Canada’s regional centres.

Hubert T. Lacroix appeared before the Committee, which is holding hearings on the crisis currently faced by the Canadian television industry, and more specifically its impact on local television services.

Despite its predicted $171 million shortfall for 2009-2010, CBC/Radio-Canada chose to maintain its presence across Canada. It even protected its regional stations by imposing fewer cutbacks on them than to the rest of the Corporation. CBC/Radio-Canada remains well-positioned to reinvest rapidly in regional programming should funds become available for that purpose.

“We’ve always maintained that fee-for-carriage should be tied to specific initiatives – like improved local services – activities for which existing advertising revenue is not sufficient,” says Hubert T. Lacroix.

But in the long run, fee-for-carriage and the new Local Programming Improvement Fund will provide only a partial solution for CBC/Radio-Canada’s financial challenges.

Lacroix touched again on the need to establish a new Memorandum of Understanding with Canadians. He asked the Government to follow through on the recommendation issued by the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage in February 2008: “I believe that this proposal is critical to securing the future of public broadcasting in Canada.”

This type of agreement between citizens and CBC/Radio-Canada would guarantee stable, multi-year funding for the national public broadcaster ― funding which would be directed towards agreed-upon programming and service outcomes ― and would subject CBC/Radio-Canada to a regular review of its mandate.

Consult CBC/Radio-Canada’s brief as submitted to the Committee at :

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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