Former broadcasters Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy were both appointed as Conservatives to the Senate. (Photo: CP)
Amidst changing Canadian newsrooms
Committee chair and Liberal MP Hedy Fry raised eyebrows early on when she asked the CRTC if regulators were examining whether digital content needed to be regulated to ensure it is truthful. She said she didn't mean to suggest curbs on free speech but more whether existing legislation that covers broadcasters and holds them to certain standards is being equally applied to those who only broadcast online. The CRTC has yet to submit an answer. What the entire study will come to is anyone's guess, said Fry. The intent is to submit a report and with it, recommendations. But she acknowledges the media landscape changes daily. "Between the time we started the study and now, the sands are shifting and we don't know what's going to come out," she said.
"Between the time we started the study and now, the sands are shifting and we don't know what's going to come out."
Two things could change the landscape in the coming months: the CRTC's own review of local broadcasting, which is also considering whether funds it has at its disposal could be used to better support the industry; and the Liberals' promise to reinstate $150 million in annual funding to the CBC. That money could come as early as Tuesday's budget. Waugh said he sees clear benefits to having former broadcasters like himself and O'Regan at the table. Witnesses — especially those from government departments or the CRTC — can't hide anything, he said, because he and others have seen the realities of cuts and technological change first hand. But no matter their backgrounds, all the MPs on the committee have a vested interest in trying to suggest some viable solutions to help support local news, he said. "As parliamentarians the worst thing that can happen is two years from now we have a big statement in the House of Commons and we come out and guess what, there's nobody there to put a mic to us," he said. "That's what we're headed for."
"The worst thing that can happen is two years from now we have a big statement in the House of Commons and we come out and guess what, there's nobody there to put a mic to us."
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