CBC/Radio-Canada presents a new approach to governing public broadcasting in Canada

    OTTAWA, March 22 /CNW Telbec/ - If CBC/Radio-Canada is to reach its
potential and be the public broadcaster Canada needs, it needs a new contract
with Canadians. This is the essence of the message that Robert Rabinovitch,
President and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada, carried forth today on behalf of the
Corporation to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage as part of its
review of the public broadcaster's mandate.
    "In a broadcasting industry that is evolving at an unprecedented rate, in
which media ownership is becoming more concentrated, Canadians need a public
broadcaster more than ever," Mr. Rabinovitch said. "It is through public
broadcasting that the Government can ensure a place for distinctive Canadian
content, telling Canadian stories and serving Canadian citizens."
    In his opening remarks to the Committee, Mr. Rabinovitch suggested that a
contract should be struck with Canadians, which would lay out the obligations
that CBC/Radio-Canada owes to its 32 million owners over a ten-year period. It
would be based on five core principles:
    1. The broadcasting system should remain a mixed public/private system;
    2. The public broadcaster should have programming independence;
    3. Its programming should be distinctive;
    4. It should serve all Canadians; and
    5. It should have the resources needed to meet the agreed-upon
    As with any contract, sufficient resources would need to be provided to
permit CBC/Radio-Canada to discharge its mandate and meet the expectations set
out in the contract.
    "CBC/Radio-Canada is at a turning point that no one-year answer, no
one-dimensional response will resolve," Mr. Rabinovitch said. "What we need,
and why we appreciate the committee's initiative, is a long-term, properly
resourced strategy for broadcasting in the next decade. We need to engage
Parliament and Canadians in a planning process to address the big policy
    Mr. Rabinovitch was accompanied by Executive Vice-President of CBC
Television, Richard Stursberg; Executive Vice-President of French Services,
Sylvain Lafrance; and Executive Director of Programming for CBC Radio,
Jennifer McGuire (acting for Vice- President of CBC Radio, Jane Chalmers), who
provided additional insight into issues of interest to Committee members.
    CBC/Radio-Canada's submission outlines why Canada needs a public
broadcaster; the role and value of public broadcasting; some of the more
pressing challenges that the national public broadcaster faces; an overview of
its 28 services; and, audience performance information.

    The submission to the Committee, along with Mr. Rabinovitch's opening
remarks, are available at
    http://www.cbc.radio-canada.ca/submissions/2007-pa.shtml and
    http://www.cbc.radio-canada.ca/speeches/20070322.shtml, respectively.

    About CBC/Radio-Canada

    CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada's national public broadcaster and one of its
largest cultural institutions. With 28 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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