Photo: The Canadian Press
The CBC logo is projected on a screen during the CBC’s annual initial presentation at the Mattamy Athletic Center in Toronto on Wednesday, May 29, 2019. Canada’s telecommunications regulator will launch a multi-day review today broadcasting licenses from the Société Radio-Canada. . The CRTC says electronic hearings will begin 10 hours ahead of its five-member panel. THE CANADIAN PRESS / Tijana Martin
Oversight and transparency took center stage on the first day of a nearly three-week review of the CBC’s broadcasting licenses, as the rush to provide digital content collides with regulatory hurdles.
The CBC is asking Canada’s telecommunications regulator to renew the licenses for its various English and French language audio and audiovisual programming services.
CBC Executive Director Catherine Tait told the Board of Directors of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission that the CBC needs more “flexibility” to adapt to the transition to listening. and listening online.
As part of the public broadcaster’s request, this digital dexterity would leave it free from detailed financial reporting obligations regarding online content, such as the CBC Gem streaming platform and the CBC Listen app.
“If we don’t move with our audience, we risk becoming dinosaurs on a melting ice cap,” Tait said in the virtual audience Monday morning.
It is asking the CRTC to renew its licenses for five years with a lighter regulatory review of its digital content compared to its radio and television programming.
CRTC Chairman Ian Scott questioned the CBC’s willingness to avoid disclosing digital costs.
“I know you don’t like expense-based requirements,” Scott said.
“But from the commission’s point of view, with more regulatory flexibility, there is a greater demand for accountability and transparency on the part of society, and that has to come in some way through reporting. . ”
The SRC has already been faced with reluctance regarding the stages of marketing its tariffs online.
Last month, renowned hosts and journalists joined around 500 current and former employees, including Peter Mansbridge and Alison Smith, urging the public broadcaster to abandon efforts to sell more branded content.
In an open letter to the general public, they warned that a new marketing effort called Tandem would harm the integrity of CBC journalism, saying paid content that looks like news is “insidious” and “will help advertisers to deceive Canadians ”.
CBC management insisted that editorial and advertising content would remain separate and underlined the critical need to generate revenue despite severe financial pressures.
The Friends of Canadian Broadcasting recommends that the CBC go further by following its radio service to become ad-free on television and online.
“They’ve also been very, very questionable when it comes to transparency,” said Daniel Bernhard, group chief executive, of CBC leadership.
“It’s just a crazy idea, that the Canadian public and our regulator have no business reviewing the public broadcaster’s digital activities.
Bernhard also called for more investment in local news as advertising dollars fall from mainstream media and end up in Google and Facebook coffers, digging into regional journalism.
Seventy speakers are expected to begin their presentations at the CRTC on Friday and continue for eight days until January 26.
The Canadian Association of Media Producers will be making the first presentation. Others include the Canadian Olympic Committee, Quebecor Media Inc., Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, and the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages.
CBC’s response to the stakeholder presentations is scheduled for January 27.