CRTC says community television must include citizens

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission issued
new broadcast rules that say community members must be involved in the creation of
at least half of a community TV channel’s programming, in hopes the channels will better reflect locals’ interests and needs.

A press release says that the new rules mean that “the original idea for a program must come from members of the community, who must also be involved in some aspect of the production, whether in front or behind the camera.”

The new rules stipulate that community television providers give at least half of their budget to this type of programming, as well as to “community outreach initiatives and the training and development of volunteers.”

“Community channels give Canadians the unique ability to see themselves and their neighbourhoods, towns and cities reflected on television,” said Michel Arpin, the CRTC’s Vice-Chairman of Broadcasting. “This can only be achieved through equal partnerships between cable companies and the communities they serve. Access to the broadcasting system must be as open as possible, especially for people who are new to the production of television programming.”

The new requirements take effect on September 1, 2014, to give providers time to make changes.

Another change, the press release says, is that “The CRTC has also introduced measures to improve the accountability and transparency of the funds cable companies allocate to the operation of their community television channels. Cable companies will have to provide this information on a yearly basis starting in 2012.”