CBC/Radio-Canada defends its editorial independence

August 19, 2010, Ottawa

In the interest of protecting its programming independence, CBC/Radio-Canada will challenge the legal recourse filed on August 10, 2010, by Canada’s Commissioner of Official Languages.

The Corporation remains firmly committed to providing official-language minority communities with the best possible programming, while remaining mindful of its overall responsibilities and the requirement to balance its budget. Moreover, CBC/Radio-Canada has substantial obligations under the Broadcasting Act when it comes to official languages in its programming—obligations that it fulfills vigorously and enthusiastically, and for which it is accountable to the CRTC.

Last year, in rejecting an injunction application brought against the Corporation, an Ontario court confirmed that the CRTC is in fact the entity that has authority over CBC/Radio-Canada in all broadcasting-related matters, including “specific broadcasting issues concerning cultural and linguistic minorities.”

“The Commissioner of Official Languages should not have jurisdiction over the Corporation’s programming”, said Maryse Bertrand, CBC/Radio-Canada’s Vice-President, Real Estate, Legal Services, and General Counsel. “It would be inappropriate for him, or another third party, to be able to dictate what kind of content CBC/Radio-Canada should air. It’s in the public interest that the Corporation’s editorial independence be protected. That independence is at the very heart of the public broadcaster’s mission.”

CBC/Radio-Canada’s decision to defend its programming independence as part of a legal recourse initiated by the Commissioner of Official Languages should in no way be interpreted as a sign that the Corporation is lessening its commitments and obligations toward official-language minority communities.

About CBC/Radio-Canada

CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada's national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. The Corporation is a leader in reaching Canadians on new platforms and delivers a comprehensive range of radio, television, Internet, and satellite-based services. Deeply rooted in the regions, CBC/Radio-Canada is the only domestic broadcaster to offer diverse regional and cultural perspectives in English, French and eight Aboriginal languages, plus seven languages for international audiences.

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