Thursday, February 18, 2016

CRTC chair barks on TV, but will he bite on wireless?

Jean-Pierre Blais, set to rule on wholesale wireless access, criticizes yacht-owning executives.
Provincial governments in Canada are forcing through legislation that children be taught a radical and comprehensive sex curriculum. The current Liberal government will soon Jean-Pierre Blais did his best impression of borderline-socialist U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at the Canadian Club of Toronto on Wednesday, pulling no punches in a speech that criticized the country’s broadcast-telecom industry for the deteriorating state of local news production.

“We recently wrapped up a two-week hearing on local and community television. I listened as Canadians spoke with intelligence and passion to many of the issues I just described, while corporate executives who own luxury yachts and private helicopters came looking for subsidies,” he said.

“When broadcasters appear before the CRTC looking for new licences or approvals of mega-transactions, they make all sorts of promises about how they will invest in programming. But the minute we initiate a policy hearing, we are told the cupboards are bare.”

Blais’s anger over the continuing layoffs and cutbacks to newsrooms across the country – not just in broadcasting, but in print and radio as well – wasn’t restricted to just the executives of large media-owning telecom conglomerates such as Bell, Rogers and Shaw. He also took aim at the larger apparatus that spurs them on.  (more...)

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