BY PETER O’NEIL, VANCOUVER SUN NOVEMBER 13, 2014 10:54 AM
Maninder Gill the owner of Radio India posed for photos while being interviewed at his Surrey, B.C. Radio Station, October 2, 2014. “Pirate Radio” Canada’s regulator of the airwaves has taken perhaps the final step in its recent crackdown on B.C.’s “Pirate Radio” industry, issuing an order Thursday demanding that Radio India shut down operations by midnight Pacific time.
Photograph by: DON MACKINNON
OTTAWA – Canada’s regulator of the airwaves has taken perhaps the final step in its recent crackdown on B.C.’s “Pirate Radio” industry, issuing an order Thursday demanding that Radio India shut down operations by midnight Pacific time.
After years of tolerating three Punjabi-language stations broadcasting illegally into the Lower Mainland from U.S.-based transmitters, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said it’s had enough.
“Operating without an authority is one of the most serious offences under the Broadcasting Act,” Tom Pentefountas, the CRTC’s vice-chairman of broadcasting and chairman of the three-commissioner panel that heard arguments from Radio India last month, said in a statement.
“We will not tolerate any business or individual that is broadcasting illegally in Canada.”
The latest action against pirate stations “demonstrates that we are committed to maintaining the integrity of the Canadian broadcasting system. We will not hesitate to act when necessary,” he added.
The CRTC had already struck undisclosed compliance agreements with the two other stations targeted since August, Sher-E-Punjab and Radio Punjab, requiring them to cease operations.
Maninder Gill, the managing director of Radio India that is owned by his sister, initially vowed in media interviews to challenge the CRTC by rallying his listeners.
A supporter of the federal Conservative party, he cited his political supporters at the federal, provincial and municipal levels who have regularly appeared on his open-line shows.
But Gill, after obtaining legal advice, shifted his tone at last month’s hearing and instead pleaded to be given four months to shut down operations.
But Pentefountas showed little sympathy during the hearing while aggressively questioning Gill’s operations.
Two CRTC-licensed, B.C.-based Punjabi-language competitors to the pirate stations testified at the same hearing, saying their unsanctioned rivals have had an unfair advantage in scooping up millions of advertising dollars in a large and growing Lower Mainland market.
That includes the estimated $2 million to $3 million that Gill said goes annually into Radio India’s coffers.
Excellent! These guys have been dodging the law too long already. You want to live in Canada, you obey Canadian laws. Learn English and do things right instead of always trying to scam the system and using your so called minority status to cry foul when things don’t go your way. If this is too much to handle, the door is always open for you to return back to your home country. Bravo on the CRTC for having some teeth!
I agree with you Steve 100%!!!
“These guys” .. .wow racist much Steve?
Although I don’t agree that radio india should be allowed to run a ‘pirate’ radio station, you don’t need to be a complete racist/bigot.
What ethnicity are you?? Unless you are an aboriginal, maybe you should “return back to your home country”… or am is it asking for too much for some tolerance on this forum??
Curious how the CRTC even has the authority to do this. They’re not “pirate” stations. They are legally licensed radio stations in the U.S. running brokered programming which perfectly legal under FCC rules where the stations are located, regardless of whether it’s produced in Canada.
Well, lots of Canadian-made programming gets broadcast on American TV and radio stations all over the U.S. every day. And lots of American radio signals spill over the border into Canada, not just ethnic stations but every format. Several of those American stations target Canadian listeners and run ads for Canadian businesses in border communities right across the country.
And guess what, it works the other way around too. Some Windsor, Ontario radio stations target Detroit listeners and run plenty of ads for U.S. businesses, but you don’t see the FCC calling 89X a pirate radio station or threatening to drag the Americans who work there to court.
Funny how it’s embraced as “free trade” when big Canadian business wants to sell products to the Americans, but called illegal “pirate radio” when Canadian broadcasters find out they have some cross-border competition.
Anyway, it looks a lot like Canadian government overreach to me. Here’s a studio producing content that’s not even being transmitted in Canada. Last I checked, the CRTC regulates Canadian transmissions, not American ones. So instead they are actually trying to censor the content at the source. Forget that it’s ethnic language programming or whether or not you like the people or the message, this just seems like a dangerous precedent. What’s next, jamming foreign signals? I hear they do that in North Korea too.
I wonder what is worse on this site; the racism or the censorship !
“Forget that it’s ethnic language programming or whether or not you like the people or the message, this just seems like a dangerous precedent. What’s next, jamming foreign signals? I hear they do that in North Korea too.”
100 percent, agreed !The whole CRTC jurisdiction over Radio India is inherently racist and flawed, when you consider that same Canadian Harper govt. signed an agreement with Obama and Bush govts. to allow INS agents to patrol the Canadian side of the border, allow drones to fly in Canadian airspace to monitor alleged illegal border activities, etc.
Yet, CRTC must warn some U.S. based radio station to butt out, while allowing others to do whatever they want !
Why does Canada bend over to make agreements with USA on terrorist security, yet has to exert its authority on border broadcasting.
Itls a very weird, unnecessary flexing of sovereignty. Why not be aggressive in all aspects of foreign policy !
Meanwhile, Canada once signed