CBC Access To Information: Tories Call For Tighter Rules After Quebecor Controversy

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The Tories used their majority on a House of Commons committee to call for tighter rules that would compel the CBC to be more transparent in responding to access-to-information requests. (Alamy | alamy

OTTAWA - The Tories used their majority on a House of Commons committee to call for tighter rules that would compel the CBC to be more transparent in responding to access-to-information requests.

In a report Wednesday, the committee asked the government to consider amending a section of the Access to Information Act that protects the CBC's journalistic, creative and programming activities from disclosure.

The report does not specify what amendment the committee is seeking, but notes some experts have said the information commissioner of Canada should be able to examine withheld records to make an independent judgment when a complaint is made.

The CBC came under the act in 2007, and has been fighting in the courts and elsewhere to withhold sensitive records from disclosure.

The corporation has been flooded with requests from Sun Media Corp., owned by Quebecor Media Inc., whose journalists have publicly lambasted CBC for non-disclosure as well as for profligacy.

Opposition NDP members of the committee issued a dissenting report Wednesday, saying the CBC matter was being properly handled by the information commissioner and the courts, and that Parliament should not interfere.

The committee is asking for a government response within 60 days.

The majority report was issued a day before the federal budget, which is expected to cut the CBC's annual budget by up to 10 per cent.

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