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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Canada: Moving to regulate the new media

The CRTC, our broadcast regulator, is proposing to regulate new media, which previously had an exemption. You have until December 5, 2008 to offer comments.
The Commission is seeking responses to questions surrounding the following six main themes:
I. Defining broadcasting in new media
II. The significance of broadcasting in new media and its impact on the Canadian broadcasting system
III. Are incentives or regulatory measures necessary or desireable for the creation and promotion of Canadian broadcasting content in new media?
IV. Are there issues concerning access to broadcasting content in new media?
V. Other broadcasting or public policy objectives
VI. The appropriateness of the new media exemption orders

The deadline for filing comments is 5 December 2008. Parties are asked to clearly identify, with rationale, those issues that, in their view, need to be considered at the public hearing. The Commission will only accept submissions that it receives on or before the date noted above. Parties wishing to appear at the public hearing must state their request on the first page of their written submissions. Parties requesting appearance must provide clear reasons, on the first page of their submissions, as to why the written submission is not sufficient and why an appearance is necessary.
The problems they are concerned about are
- insufficient levels of Canadian content on the Internet;
- evidence that the new media environment is having an impact on various aspects of the business model of traditional broadcasters; and
- increased availability of high-quality video programming on the Internet.

Fine, but there is considerable potential for the wrong sort of regulation to create more problems than it solves and becme an unofficial form of censorship for dissident viewpoints. Consider, for example, the history of the Canadian human rights commissions.

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