'It Is Hereby Declared': The Quiet Reform of Canadian Broadcasting Law
21 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2008 Last revised: 23 Dec 2013
Date Written: September 15, 2008
This paper, presented at the Media and Communications session of the Society of Legal Scholars in 2008, is a review of recent developments in Canadian broadcasting regulation, with an emphasis on those developments related to the growth of (mostly Internet-based) new media. It is argued that dealing with the question of new media represents a particular challenge for the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and to the landmark Broadcasting Act of 1991. It is also proposed that the parallel discussions in the public policy arena on cultural funding and intellectual property form an integral part of the broadcasting regulatory system in the current age. Taken together, the various initiatives and decisions of the last five years represent quite significant reform, and it can be said that the mandate for broadcasting in Canada set out in the Act is undergoing a subtle transformation, whether that be through CRTC, industry or other action. In this context, concerns raised regarding transparency and participation in the democratic process, key elements of the historical approach to broadcasting and the law in Canada, are highlighted and assessed.
Keywords: broadcasting, new media, Canada, CRTC, webcasting, copyright
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