CBC/Radio-Canada is the national public broadcasting service. It belongs to all Canadians and is accountable to them through Parliament. Its mandate is defined in the Broadcasting Act; by that mandate it is judged.
The Corporation enjoys administrative and programming independence of political or governmental direction to permit it to discharge the role assigned to it within the Canadian broadcasting system. The autonomy of the Corporation is assured through the authority conferred by Parliament upon its President and the other Directors who act as Parliament's 'trustees' on behalf of the public to define and to guard the public interest and to ensure CBC/Radio-Canada's mandate is fulfilled. This principle of 'arm's length' relationship between CBC/Radio-Canada and government is critical to the Corporation's independence. But there can never be autonomy without responsibility, freedom without restraint.
In order to meet the broad objectives in the mandate, the Directors formulate Corporate objectives and policies. Program Policy is a means by which the Corporation's broad program objectives are attained. It ensures that CBC/Radio-Canada programming, regardless of language of service or location, meets recognized standards. It also protects the broadcaster against external pressures if the program meets these standards, i.e., policies, interpreted in accordance with common sense.
The policies grouped here deal with general programming. (Program policies related specifically to information programs are published in a separate volume entitled "Journalistic Standards and Practices").
Ottawa, July 6, 1994