January 11, 2010: Invite Public Comment

CACTUS Invites Public Comment on Community TV

Ottawa (January 11, 2009) The Canadian Association of Community Television Users and Stations (CACTUS) has published a free guide to a forthcoming federal review of community TV channels in Canada. Available through the CACTUS website, the guide reviews and discusses the questions that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has posed prior to its community TV hearing this April.

“Programming that is produced by, for and about local communities is one of three elements of our broadcasting system that Parliament addresses in the Broadcast Act,” said CACTUS spokesperson Cathy Edwards. “Although Canadians have heard a great deal about the chance that local commercial TV stations could go dark if cable companies do not start paying for them, they have heard far less about the one element of the broadcasting system that is supposed to give Canadians a direct and active voice in their broadcasting system--community TV.”

Edwards pointed out that although the CRTC requires cable companies to spend a minimum of 2% of their gross revenues to fund a platform that local communities can use for local expression, over the past decade many cable companies have cut off communities’ access to this platform by closing studios and replacing community volunteers with paid staff.

“Most Canadians don’t know they have the right to access these channels to get their messages out and to gain broadcasting experience,” Edwards said, “and unfortunately most don’t know about the CRTC’s April 26 policy hearing about this issue. We designed our guide to encourage participation in this important process.” The deadline for Canadians to respond to the CRTC’s questions about community TV is February 1, 2010.

CACTUS’ guide to the CRTC’s notice of consultation includes an interpretation of the questions in the notice, hints for participating in the process, and a link to a letter to support more community involvement in community TV. The guide is available at: www.cactusmedia.ca. The CRTC’s notice is available at: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2009/2009-661.htm

Contact: Catherine Edwards, (819) 772-2862