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Sun News directive will provide more options: CRTC

Dec 20, 2013

Source: The Province

Cable and satellite companies will be required to offer Sun News Network and all other national television news channels for individual subscription or as part of a bundle starting next year, Canada's broadcasting regulator said Thursday. While the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) says the directive will give television subscribers more choice when it comes to news and opinion, it is also a possible harbinger of things to come for Canada's TV universe.

The two-year-old Sun News Network had applied earlier this year to be given a guaranteed spot in all basic television packages to better compete with more established news networks offered by CBC and CTV.

The CRTC rejected Sun News' request in August, but also recognized there are obstacles facing startup news services and launched a review of Canada's national news specialty services. The directive announced Thursday is the result, and means all cable and satellite companies will be forced to offer Sun News as well as CBC News Network, CTV News Channel and two French-language news networks either alone or in bundles by May.

"Canadian news services are an important part of our democracy," CRTC spokesman Jean-Pierre Blais said in a statement. "With the rules we are announcing today, Canadians, as citizens, will have access to the news services that are of interest to them and will therefore have an opportunity to be exposed to a variety of opinions on matters of public concern." Representatives for Sun News, who had earlier warned the controversial network would be forced into extinction if cable and satellite companies weren't forced to carry it, were not immediately available for comment.

© The Province