Action needed to protect television services: Access to Fee-for-carriage, a much needed first step



    OTTAWA, April 27 /CNW Telbec/ - Speaking today to the Standing Committee
on Canadian Heritage, CBC/Radio-Canada's President and CEO reiterated the
public broadcaster's commitment to remaining strongly rooted in Canada's
regional centres.
    Hubert T. Lacroix appeared before the Committee, which is holding
hearings on the crisis currently faced by the Canadian television industry,
and more specifically its impact on local television services.
    Despite its predicted $171 million shortfall for 2009-2010,
CBC/Radio-Canada chose to maintain its presence across Canada. It even
protected its regional stations by imposing fewer cutbacks on them than to the
rest of the Corporation. CBC/Radio-Canada remains well-positioned to reinvest
rapidly in regional programming should funds become available for that
purpose.
    "We've always maintained that fee-for-carriage should be tied to specific
initiatives - like improved local services - activities for which existing
advertising revenue is not sufficient," says Hubert T. Lacroix.
    But in the long run, fee-for-carriage and the new Local Programming
Improvement Fund will provide only a partial solution for CBC/Radio-Canada's
financial challenges.
    Lacroix touched again on the need to establish a new Memorandum of
Understanding with Canadians. He asked the Government to follow through on the
recommendation issued by the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage in
February 2008: "I believe that this proposal is critical to securing the
future of public broadcasting in Canada."
    This type of agreement between citizens and CBC/Radio-Canada would
guarantee stable, multi-year funding for the national public broadcaster ?
funding which would be directed towards agreed-upon programming and service
outcomes ? and would subject CBC/Radio-Canada to a regular review of its
mandate.

    Consult CBC/Radio-Canada's brief as submitted to the Committee at:
    www.cbc.radio-canada.ca/submissions/2009-pa.shtml

    About CBC/Radio-Canada

    CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada's national public broadcaster and one of its
largest cultural institutions. With 29 services offered on Radio, Television,
the Internet, satellite radio, digital audio, as well as through its record
and music distribution service and wireless WAP and SMS messaging services,
CBC/Radio-Canada is available how, where, and when Canadians want it.
    Through this array of activities, CBC/Radio-Canada brings diverse
regional and cultural perspectives into the daily lives of Canadians in
English, French and eight Aboriginal languages, in nine languages on its
international Radio service, Radio Canada International, and in eight
languages on its Web-based Radio service RCI viva, a service for recent and
aspiring immigrants to Canada.




For further information:

For further information: Marco Dubé, Director, Media Relations and
Issues Management, CBC/Radio-Canada, (613) 288-6039, marco.dube@cbc.ca


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