CRTC Deadline May Exclude ComMedia 2015 Findings
Dear Friend of Community Media,
As you many of you know already, the Community Media Convergence is not just a conference... It is part of a research process funded primarily by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (the SSHRC), which includes a consultations with community media stakeholders to develop policy proposals to strengthen community media in the digital environment. Many of you have already participated in this process by taking the online survey, or participating in a focus group.
As the first conference to bring together community media practitioners working across multiple platforms in Canada, we hope the practical knowledge and policy proposals that emerge will have application for all community media.
Organizers had in addition hoped that the conference might generate useful recommendations for the CRTC's upcoming review of its community TV policies, at which the fate of more than $150 million annually that has traditionally be earmarked for the community element in the broadcasting system will be decided.
As organizers of ComMedia 2015, we are therefore perturbed to share with you that the CRTC posted its public notice for the review of its community TV policy on September 14th, and that the deadline for the public to submit comments is October 29th, a full three weeks before the Community Media Convergence. This is a public-comment period of only 46 days. In 2009, the last time Canada's community TV policy was reviewed, the public was allowed over 100 days to prepare comments.
Furthermore, the scope of the current review is much larger than in 2009, and includes local conventional television as well as community television.
Finally, the federal election has the staff of many community media organizations tied up in providing vital election coverage, leaving little time to think about the policy support they need going forward.
For all these reasons, we invite you to support the request by the Community Media Policy Working Group (the group co-ordinating the SSHRC research process) to delay the deadline for written comment until after the hearing. The Working Group has requested an extension to December 11th, 2015. We believe it is in the public's and the Commission's best interest that the most information and data be on the public record as possible. The goal of mobilizing more credible research about community media was one of the driving forces for organizing this conference.
If you wish to support this request, please either fax the Secretary General of the CRTC, John Traversy at (819) 994-0218, or click here to go to the CRTC's Comments/Complaints page, and tell the CRTC why you believe the the policy research being generated for the Community Media Convergence is important, and that it should be included as part of the CRTC's deliberations of its community TV policies. We suggest you mention:
- who you are and what community media organization(s) you work with, volunteer with, or are familiar with
- why you support the Community Media Convergence and believe its outcomes should available to the community TV policy review (cite CRTC proceeding number 2015-421)
- why you or your organization might need more than 45 days to submit your comments
- reiterate the call for an extension of the written comment deadline to December 11th.
The letter from the Working Group is posted below, if you need it for background.
Thank you from all of us here at ComMedia 2015. We are working very hard to organize this historic 'get-together' and look forward to seeing you in November! Don't hesitate to contact the Working Group by emailing Michael@ComMediaConverge.ca if you have questions.