Conservatives refuse answers on media, communications policy
October 10, 2008
VANCOUVER. Despite repeated efforts by the Campaign for Democratic Media, the Conservative Party did not reply to questions about key policy issues related to media and communications in this election campaign.
The other four national parties did supply answers to questions ranging from where they stand on supporting Canadian ownership rules in broadcasting, to net neutrality and the elimination of patronage in federal appointments. However none of the parties appear to have action plans to deal with the growing concentration of media ownership or the marginalization of both public and community broadcasting.
“The federal government establishes the framework in which the media function in this country,” says Steve Anderson of the Campaign for Democratic Media. “This is not about whether the political parties like the way they are treated by the media, this is about ensuring basic infrastructure for democracy.”
“Nearly two thousand Canadians wrote to the CRTC a year ago to say they were concerned about the lack of diversity of voices in their local media,” Anderson adds. “The CRTC, with its renewed focus on deregulation, has done virtually nothing to address this real problem. That means Canadians have reason to believe they are not finding out enough about the important issues that are weighing on them. And it’s the government’s job to do something about it."
The Conservative Party platform contains a couple of minor media measures related to increased funding for international French-language broadcaster TV5 and guaranteeing French-language representation at the CRTC, something that is already a well-established practice.
“But the governing party refused to answer about where they stand on maintaining Canadian ownership of our media, increasing support for CBC and Radio-Canada or addressing concerns about net neutrality,” Anderson points out.
To view the list of questions and a summary of the positions of the parties, visit http://democraticmedia.ca/sites/democraticmedia.ca/files/positions.pdf .
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