CRTC to undertake a review of issues relating to the diversity of voices in Canada

    OTTAWA and GATINEAU, March 13 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian
Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) will launch a
proceeding to review issues relating to the Broadcasting Act's objective of
ensuring that the broadcasting system provides Canadians with a diversity of
voices. The scope of this proceeding will be set out in a notice of public
hearing to be issued shortly. A public hearing will follow in the fall of
    "The current wave of consolidation in the Canadian broadcasting industry,
and the possibility of more major transactions in the future, raises important
questions relating to the diversity of voices in Canada," said Konrad
von Finckenstein, Chairman of the CRTC. "Holding a public hearing in the fall
will allow us to give these issues the thorough and in-depth study they
deserve. This exercise will result in clearly articulated policy guidelines
that will further the evolution of the Canadian broadcasting system from that
point forward."
    The Commission has also decided to withdraw any review of its common
ownership policy from the public hearing on the CTVglobemedia Inc./CHUM
Limited transaction, which is scheduled to begin on April 30, 2007
(Broadcasting Notice of Public Hearing CRTC 2007-3-1).
    Regarding the major ownership transactions that have been filed or
publicly announced as of this date, the Commission is of the view that
procedural fairness demands that such applications be heard in a timely manner
and pursuant to the rules in force when the transactions were announced.
    Therefore, the transactions recently announced by CanWest MediaWorks Inc.
and Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc., and Astral Media Inc. and Standard
Radio Inc., as well as the CTVglobemedia Inc./CHUM Limited transaction and any
divestiture agreements emanating from it, will be assessed in light of the
Commission's existing regulations and policies.
    The Commission expects to issue its revised policy guidelines with
respect to diversity of voices toward the end of 2007. In the meantime, the
Commission will deal with routine ownership transactions that do not raise
significant diversity of voices issues by following the normal process.

    The CRTC

    The CRTC is an independent, public authority that regulates and
supervises broadcasting and telecommunications in Canada.

    Reference documents:

    Broadcasting Notice of Public Hearing CRTC 2007-3-1
    Broadcasting Notice of Public Hearing CRTC 2007-3
    Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 1999-97

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