The Canadian Broadcasting Act: An Analysis

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Since its inauguration in 1932, the Canadian Broadcasting Act has ensured that its broadcasting system is controlled by Canadians, includes private and public broadcasting, and reflects the nations values through promoting Canadian content and cultural diversity (“Canadian Broadcasting Policy” sec. 1). Although the development of digital technologies in recent years has presented challenges in ensuring some of these objectives, the policies of the Canadian Broadcasting Act continues to serve to protect and promote Canadian national interests. This is best analyzed using the Pluralist framework, which demonstrates the aims that are intimately related to serving public-interest groups. This paper will begin by giving a brief history of the Canadian…show more content…
The Americanization of the broadcasting industry however, “negates French language programming, Aboriginal content, and multiculturalism” (“Safeguarding the Canadian Broadcast Industry” Naraine). In this respect, the policies under the Canadian Broadcasting Act helps Canadians understand the different ethnicities that make up Canada’s cultural mosaic. One of the key goals of Canada’s Broadcasting Act is to uphold cultural diversity through its “programming and employment opportunities, [which] serve the needs and interests, and reflect the circumstances and aspirations of: Canadian men, women and children, including equal rights; the linguistic duality and multicultural and multiracial nature of Canadian society; and the special place of Aboriginal peoples within society” (“Offering Cultural Diversity on TV and Radio” CRTC). The establishment of the following activities and policies fulfills these objectives: Native Broadcasting Policy, Ethnic Broadcasting Policy, increased licensing of ethnic and third party language-stations, and expanded availability of non-Canadian, third language services (“Offering Cultural Diversity on TV and Radio” CRTC). This again supports the view that the Canadian broadcasting laws and policies are in fact, shaped by pluralism – which states that cultural groups should enjoy autonomy in order to achieve a sense of…show more content…
According to pluralism, “interest groups will try to maximize their interests in a situation where lines of conflict are multiple and shifting” (Shirmer 5). The conflict in this case is between: 1) the mandatory distributions of non-profit public broadcasters in the interests of Canadians and ethnic minorities, and 2) the commodification of these broadcasters in the interest of profit, as well as the exploitation of the freed-up space provided by the conversion from analog to digital. To clarify the second conflict of interest, it is important to note the reason as to why Canada has switched from analog to digital television. According to the CRTC, one of the main reasons for the switch to digital television is the need for more frequencies or airwaves (sec. 2). Digital signals use less airwave space than analog signals, meaning that the freed-up space can be used for other services (“Canadian Local Over-the-Air Television Stations have Converted to Digital Television,” CRTC). These “other services” include the creation of the 4G LTE network. We can begin to see that under the pluralist framework, power becomes a continuous bargaining process between competing groups (Shirmer 5). The switch to digital television has facilitated the commodification of not-for-profit public broadcasters, as well as benefitting other industries in profit making (i.e., telecommunications) through the

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