Political speech is seemingly under attack from the last place we might expect: Canadian media broadcasters, that say parties can't use broadcasters' content in ads. Protecting copyright is not an illegitimate purpose, but this approach is less than ideal for political advertisements. Political parties rely on election advertising to persuade the electorate to vote for them. This political expression is a significantly important aspect of public discourse and should be accorded the highest priority and protection.
For the past two years I've been actively recapping Drafted, a reality show put on by The Score and Gillette to find Canada's next sports broadcaster. I usually hate reality shows but Drafted really resonants with me because (A) it's a show about people pursuing their lifelong dream of talking about sports for a living and (B) what's more fun than watching emotional breakdowns when they fail at it?
Tuesday marks the opening of another critical public hearing at the CRTC. It will be considering applications to expand the mandatory distribution of channels on the basic TV service. But, bottom line, if our own federal government refuses to kick in a few more million a year to show just how important Canadian culture is, then why should the rest of us?
Last week, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission announced that it is terminating the Local Programming Improvement Fund (LPIF). The fund, which was established in 2008, funneled over $300 million to broadcasters to support the creation of local programming. The decision caught the industry by surprise with the CBC calling it "astonishing" and Bell Media saying it is a "major concern."