Regulatory, Telecom & Media News – Bill C-10 on hold as DOJ looks at free speech implications

Steven Guilbeault

Bill C-10 has been put on hold as the Department of Justice looks at whether recent amendments to the proposed legislation violate the free speech rights of social media users. The Canadian Heritage Committee will hear from Justice Min. David Lametti and Canadian Heritage Min. Steven Guilbeault, as well as a panel of expert witnesses, before work on C-10 proceeds. In an interview on CTV’s Question Period last Sunday, Guilbeault suggested that the bill’s reach could extend, at the CRTC’s discretion, to social media users with large online followings or who earn significant revenue. His office later issued a clarification saying the minister used “unclear” language when referring to people and online channels being subject to regulation. ACTRA is among the industry organizations urging swift passage of the bill with ACTRA National President David Sparrow saying that it’s “an overdue but positive first step in modernizing our broadcasting system – one that will benefit Canadian culture, our economy and our creators.”

RTDNA has announced the regional winners of the 2021 Edward R. Murrow Awards. In the Large Market Radio category, Newstalk 1010 (CFRB-AM) Toronto claimed four awards, including Feature Reporting, News Documentary, News Series and Continuing Coverage, while Toronto’s 680 News (CFTR-AM) earned Overall Excellence. News 1130 (CKWX-AM) Vancouver won for Best Newscast and Digital, while CBC Toronto was recognized in the Breaking News category for its COVID-19 coverage. 570 News (CKGL-AM) Kitchener was recognized in the Small Market category. CTV News swept the Small Market Television category with the bureaus in London, Kitchener, Vancouver Island and Windsor earning accolades. CTV Vancouver earned five awards in the Large Market Television category, including the Overall Excellence Award and Best Newscast. Global News earned four awards, including Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Living in Colour: Being Black in Canada. CBC Toronto was recognized in the Feature Reporting category for Pandemic Pie Project. Find the full list of regional winners here.

The 2021 Webster Awards are open for submissions. Among the changes for this year, what was one category in the past (Excellence in Science, Technology, Health and Environment), is now three separate categories: Excellence in Technology Reporting, Excellence in Health Reporting and Excellence in Environment Reporting. Another change sees the Best Reporting – Chinese Language category redefined as Best Reporting in a Language other than English, while Excellence in Digital Reporting becomes Excellence in Multimedia Journalism. The Breaking News categories have also been revised. Submissions can be uploaded for stories published between June 1, 2020 and May 31st, 2021. Learn more here

The BC Association of Broadcasters (BCAB) has opened submissions for the BCAB Awards of Excellence. Submissions must have aired on their respective stations between Jan. 1, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2020. The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, May 26. The submission site can be accessed here.

 

TVA Group has announced operating revenues of $140.8 million in the first quarter of 2021, a year-over-year increase of $3.7 million. First quarter operating highlights include Consolidated adjusted EBITDA of $2,136,000, a $6,371,000 unfavourable variance from the same quarter of 2020. $3,421,000 in negative adjusted EBITDA was recorded in the Broadcasting segment, a $7,250,000 unfavourable variance due primarily to a decrease in profitability at TVA Sports as a result of the change in the NHL broadcast schedule, partially offset by increased profitability at TVA Network and commercial production activities. MELS reported $3,628,000 in adjusted EBITDA in the Film Production & Audiovisual Services segment, a $456,000 favourable variance mainly due to increased profitability of all segment activities, with the exception of visual effects, partially offset by the start-up of virtual stage activities. Incendo reported $113,000 in adjusted EBITDA in the Production & Distribution segment, a $554,000 negative variance, a direct result of the pandemic, which caused a delay in distribution of films produced in 2020.