‘Fundamentally Flawed’: Thoughtful Pushback on CRTC’s Broadcast Report


Michael Geist, the PIAC, FRPC and OpenMedia aren’t fully on board with the CRTC’s recent programming distribution report


By Sameer Chhabra, MobileSyrup.com    JUN 1, 2018

Policy experts from a variety of advocate groups have begun to weigh in on the CRTC’s recently published programming distribution report to express confusion and concern in almost equal measure.

University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist (pictured above), for example, wrote an article expressing that the foundation of the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) “report is fundamentally flawed in at least four aspects.” Among Geist’s concerns was that the CRTC’s regulation-first approach to its report failed to adequately enumerate which content creators should be regulated.

“Where is the line on CRTC regulation when your scope is the internet?” — Michael Geist, University of Ottawa

“Is the CRTC suggesting that all podcasters that draw revenue from Canada are now subject to its regulation?” wrote Geist, in a May 31st, 2018 blog post. “All news organizations that invariably include audio and video? Where is the line on CRTC regulation when your scope is the internet?”

It’s important to note that report failed to dive into this issue, but CRTC officials suggested in a media lockup with press that smaller parties would be able to operate under general agreements open to all, and in fact the Commission envisioned dealing with a relatively smaller number of parties under the proposed changes.

Geist also argued that there is no Canadian content emergency that requires the imposition of regulation on certain content providers.

“…internet use is about far more than streaming videos or listening to music…” — Michael Geist

“Notwithstanding the doomsayers who fear that the emergence of digital services such as Netflix will result in less money for production in Canada, the most recent annual report by the Canadian Media Producers Association on the state of screen-based media production in Canada confirms that financing of Canadian television production continues to hit new heights,” wrote Geist.

Geist’s third point was that “internet use is about far more than streaming videos or listening to music,” thereby drawing a counterargument to the CRTC’s position that demand for internet services is “almost wholly driven by demand for audio and video content.”

Finally, Geist argued that there’s no argument to suggest that introducing fees on internet service providers “won’t have an impact on internet and wireless pricing that is already some of the highest in the world.”

Read much more of this article  HERE.


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