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Re: Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2011-14

Feb 9, 2011

Call for comments on amendments to the Radio Regulations, 1986, Television Broadcasting Regulations, 1987, Pay Television Regulations, 1990, Specialty Services Regulations, 1990, and the Broadcasting Information Regulations, 1993

Mr. Robert Morin
Secretary General
Canadian Radio-television and
Telecommunications Commission
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0N2

Dear Mr. Morin

1. Friends of Canadian Broadcasting is an independent watchdog for Canadian programming in the audio-visual system, supported by 150,000 Canadians. We welcome the opportunity to comment.

2. Many of FRIENDS' supporters have communicated their concerns to us regarding the proposed change in the wording of:

Paragraph 3(d) of the Radio Regulations, 1986[1]
Paragraph 5(1)(d) of the Television Broadcasting Regulations, 1987[2]
Paragraph 3(2)(c) of the Pay Television Regulations, 1990[3]
Paragraph (3)(d) of the Specialty Services Regulations, 1990[4]

By way of example, the present wording of the Radio Regulations reads:

3. A licensee shall not broadcast
(a) anything in contravention of the law;
(b) any abusive comment that, when taken in context, tends or is likely to expose an individual or a group or class of individuals to hatred or contempt on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age or mental or physical disability;
(c) any obscene or profane language;
(d) any false or misleading news; or [5]
(e) any telephone interview or conversation, or any part thereof, with any person unless
(i) the person's oral or written consent to the interview or conversation being broadcast was obtained prior to the broadcast, or
(ii) the person telephoned the station for the purpose of participating in a broadcast.

3. The Commission's proposed wording in paragraph 3(d) is:

(d) any news that the licensee knows is false or misleading and [6] that endangers or is likely to endanger the lives, health or safety of the public;

4. The wording of this proposed change conveys the impression that a licensee will be prohibited from broadcasting any news that a licensee knows is false or misleading only in the event that its broadcast is also likely to endanger the lives, health, or safety of the public.

5. FRIENDS recommends replacing the word and with the word or to ensure that either  "news that the licensee knows is false or misleading"  or "that endangers or is likely to endanger the lives, health or safety of the public" is prohibited.

6. FRIENDS' recommended revised wording reads:

(d) any news that the licensee knows is false or misleading or that endangers or is likely to endanger the lives, health or safety of the public...

7. As noted above, this recommendation applies equally to the television, pay television and specialty services regulations.

Yours sincerely,

Ian Morrison
Spokesperson


[1] SOR/86-982
[2] SOR/87-49
[3] SOR/90-105
[4] SOR/90-106
[5] Emphasis added
[6] Emphasis added