Regulatory, Telecom & Media News – Canadian Heritage publishes Bill C-11 policy direction

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Canadian Heritage has published the proposed policy direction that will guide the CRTC as it works toward developing a new regulatory framework under Bill C-11, the Online Streaming Act. The commission has been explicitly directed to exclude content made by social media creators under the Act, including podcasters and any content on social media not also made available on a non-social media broadcast undertaking, as well as video games. In terms of the issue of discoverability of Canadian programs, the CRTC is being directed to implement discoverability in a way “that respects and, where possible, increases choice for users while also minimizing the need to alter algorithms of broadcasting undertakings.” In response to concerns about the tight timelines outlined in its previously-announced public consultation process, the commission has extended the deadline for the submission of interventions to July 11 and the deadline for the submission of replies to July 26. Read more here.

 

The Federal Court of Appeal has ruled the CRTC had no jurisdiction to force CBC/Radio-Canada to apologize for use of the “N-word” on-air and has sent the decision back to the regulator for review. On appeal by the public broadcaster on freedom of expression grounds, the court agreed with the analysis of the Attorney General of Canada, who intervened in the case in support of CBC, saying the Broadcasting Act does not give the regulator the power to control programming content directly. The case stems from a complaint about an August 2020 segment on ICI Radio-Canada Premiere, in which commentator Simon Jodoin and host Annie Desrochers discussed a petition for the dismissal of a Concordia University professor who quoted the title of a book containing the “N-word” in French during a class.

The CRTC, Competition Bureau, and Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) have come together under the banner of the newly-formed Canadian Digital Regulators Forum to strengthen information sharing and collaboration on matters related to digital markets and platforms, including artificial intelligence (AI). The three agencies, who already share responsibility for enforcing Canada’s Anti-spam Legislation (CASL), is headed by Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell, CRTC Chairperson Vicky Eatrides, and Privacy Commissioner Philippe Dufresne. Supported by a Core Working Group, which will meet quarterly, the three organizations will exchange best practices, conduct research and market analyses, and problem solve with an aim to strengthen the work of all three agencies as they keep pace with rapid changes in the digital economy. Read more here.

Canadian Broadcasters for Sustainability, a group of 22 Canadian broadcasters, has come together to increase environmentally sustainable change. The group includes Accessible Media Inc., Asian Television Network, Bell Media, Blue Ant Media, CBC/Radio-Canada, Channel Zero, CHEK Media, Corus Entertainment, Hollywood Suite, Knowledge Network, New Tang Dynasty (Canada), Nunavut Independent Television Network (Uvagut TV), OUTtv, Pelmorex Corp., Remstar Media, Rogers Sports & Media, Super Channel, Télé-Québec, TFO, TV5, TVO and WildBrain. Committing to embedding environmentally sustainable thinking in their commissioned productions – excluding news and current affairs, the group will share learnings with an eye to reducing duplication and increasing the collective impact and speed of environmentally sustainable change. Read more here.

The Globe and Mail has launched Secret Canada, a searchable database of over 300,000 Freedom of Information summaries, in response to Canada’s broken FOI system. The project is intended to help Canadians navigate records held by public institutions. Some of its insights are based on the work of Tom Cardoso and Robyn Doolittle from The Globe and Mail’s investigations team, who decided to take on Canada’s FOI system in the fall of 2021, filing more than 430 requests to public bodies across the country asking for data from their FOI request tracking systems. 

The Investigative Journalism Foundation (IJF) is getting a $40,000 USD injection from The Data-Driven Reporting project, funded by the Google News Initiative, to build Canada’s first-ever database showing stocks, real estate and other financial assets owned by politicians at the federal level in every province and territory. IJF says the database will make it easy for Canadians to see which politicians own stocks in companies they’re regulating, and which politicians are passing laws that benefit their own bank accounts.

The Peter Leo Emerging Reporter Fund has officially been established at Carleton’s School of Journalism, supporting a graduating journalism student to pursue an innovative and original research/reporting project with a preferred focus on broadcast journalism. Students will be required to submit a detailed pitch/proposal for their project, and the Journalism Program will lead the selection process joined by one or more representatives from CBC Radio News, which may provide editorial guidance, with the final product to possibly be broadcast on CBC Radio. Leo was the leader of CBC Radio News live specials for more than 20 years. The award was established by former colleague Tom Harrington and friends.

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) has announced the winners of its annual Media Awards competition. CityNews and CBC were multiple winners, with Talia Ricci of CBC Toronto recognized in the Online category for Best News Story, along with Mike Crawley of CBC Toronto (Radio – Best news report), Lauren Pelley (Radio – Best in-depth report or series), and Aarti Pole and David Eggleston (Television – Best news report). CityNews’ Mahnoor Yawar and Gabrielle Dainard won Television – Best in-depth report or series, while Cynthia Mulligan and Meredith Bond were recognized for Online – Best in-depth feature or series for Mulligan’s first-person account of kicking cancer. 

Steve Murphy, retired executive editor and senior anchor for CTV Atlantic, will publish his latest book “Murphy’s Logic: Insights from 45 years in the news business” in October. Also the name of his bi-weekly commentary segment that airs on CTV Atlantic News at Six, this is Murphy’s third book, but first since 2006. Both a professional memoir and a commentary on the current state of media, Murphy says the book will dive into “spin” techniques being employed by newsmakers to avoid answering real questions. He’ll also discuss inadvertently becoming part of the story, including his infamous interview with former Liberal leader Stéphane Dion during the 2008 federal election, something he’s never written about publicly.

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