The time is right for a Memorandum of Understanding - Missed opportunity to shape CBC/Radio-Canada's future strategic direction



    OTTAWA, June 20 /CNW Telbec/ - The Government's decision late yesterday
not to endorse the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage's report on
CBC/Radio-Canada is a missed opportunity to enhance the accountability and
transparency of Canada's national public broadcaster. The report,
CBC/Radio-Canada: Defining Distinctiveness in the Changing Media Landscape
contains recommendations linking CBC/Radio-Canada's objectives to a fulsome
conversation with Government on services and funding.
    "We are disappointed that the Government has not endorsed the Committee's
unanimous recommendations, said Hubert T. Lacroix, President and CEO of
CBC/Radio-Canada. "The report is a blueprint for developing the future goals
of public broadcasting in Canada."
    Governments around the world have recognized the importance of developing
clear strategic directions for their national public broadcasters in
multi-year agreements. The Heritage Committee's proposal for a seven-year
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) offers the same accountability.
    "The MOU would provide Canadians with a clear understanding of the future
course of their public broadcaster and the resources necessary to provide the
services they require." Lacroix said. "In addition, the MOU improves the
Corporation's governance by enabling us to plan our activities and services
over more than 12 months and thereby make more efficient use of our
resources."
    Given its current resources, the Corporation is facing some critical
choices about its future directions. CBC/Radio-Canada believes that it is
important that these choices be discussed with Government and reflected in an
MOU. It will continue to press the Government on the importance of the
Memorandum for public broadcasting in Canada.
    The Heritage Committee's report was the product of extensive review,
study and consultation. The report itself stated: The Committee regards
CBC/Radio-Canada as an essential public institution that plays a crucial role
in bringing Canadians closer together... The vast majority of the evidence
stressed the distinctiveness of CBC/Radio-Canada, reflected in the quality,
originality and creativity of its programming. Being distinctive should not
however mean being inaccessible. Its services must be accessible to the
various elements of the Canadian public.

    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: Katherine Heath-Eves, Media Relations,
CBC/Radio-Canada (Ottawa), (613) 288-6235, heathevk@cbc.ca


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