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PERFORMERS DISAPPOINTED AS CRTC REJECTS NEW MEDIA BROADCASTING REGS: Broadcasting is broadcasting: CRTC has a duty to regulate it

June 4, 2009 — Toronto – Performers are disappointed the CRTC has rejected calls to regulate broadcasting in new media.

“Broadcasting is broadcasting, and the CRTC has a duty to regulate it, whether it’s on a TV, a laptop or a Blackberry. Failing to do so will mean less Canadian content and reduced Canadian presence in an era when we are already being submerged in U.S. content on our TVs, and now online,” said Ferne Downey, ACTRA’s National President. “Instead of doing its job and showing leadership, the CRTC is throwing up its hands and passing the buck to government.”

As ACTRA predicted in 1999, the Commission’s hands-off approach has created a situation in which broadcasters and cable companies are now ‘competing’ with their unregulated selves and Canadian programs and music are being increasingly marginalized.

“We’ve already watched for 10 years as Canadian content has been submerged by foreign content. Five years from now will be too late. By not taking any measures right now to ensure a place for Canadian programming in this increasingly dominant medium, we can easily see a future where there won’t be any,” said Stephen Waddell, ACTRA’s National Executive Director.

ACTRA appeared at the CRTC’s hearings to argue that new media was just another way of broadcasting programs. Performers asked the regulator to rescind the exemption order and regulate broadcasting to provide shelf space for Canadian content. ACTRA also urged the CRTC to create a new source of funding for Canadian content online by imposing a levy on the record-breaking profits of Internet and Wireless Service Providers. The Commission rejected the proposal in today’s decision.

“For the CRTC to say that it doesn’t see a need for new sources of funding shows that it’s out of touch with the reality of independent production in Canada, content producers will remain disadvantaged in terms of funding,” said Waddell. “ISPs are making record profits, they should be giving something back to the system and the customers that fill their coffers.”

With the CRTC’s failure to regulate broadcasting in new media, it is increasingly urgent for the federal government to show leadership in developing a comprehensive digital media strategy that ensures Canada doesn’t fall further behind.

ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) is the national organization of professional performers working in the English-language recorded media in Canada. ACTRA represents the interests of 21,000 members across Canada – the foundation of Canada’s highly acclaimed professional performing community.


For more information: Carol Taverner, Public Relations Officer, (416) 644-1519,

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