Use and Protect Community Television to Support Local Political Communications
WHEREAS public and private television broadcasters filter all political messaging (e.g. news programs that clip sound bites), putting the Green Party of Canada and other smaller political parties at a communications disadvantage in the mainstream media;
WHEREAS Community Television channels were originally created by the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to provide the Canadian public and political parties a means to bypass the mainstream media and directly connect with their communities;
WHEREAS the CRTC has designated Broadcasting Distribution Undertakings (BDUs, cable & satellite companies) responsibility for making political parties and other members of the public aware of their right to access Community Television services in each local area served;
WHEREAS even though BDUs in 2015 had $151 million in public funds available to provide Community Television services, many BDUs did not provide the minimal requirements that the CRTC demands for local and access programming and failed to fully inform Electoral District Associations of the training, tools, and production support available to them;
WHEREAS the Canadian Association of Community Television Users & Stations has proposed to the CRTC redirecting public funds from private sector corporations (BDUs) to non-profit Community Media Centres hosted by public libraries, film co-ops, and non-profit community media groups to better serve the public interest as providers of Community Television, as is done in the United States;
BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada formally supports a strengthening of Community Television in Canada that will enable Electoral District Associations to access significant training and production support to produce their own political programming for local Community Television airing;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada monitor its access to Community Television in each EDA and report to the CRTC when its rights and those of other political voices are discriminated against;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada supports the proposition by the Canadian Association of Community Television Users & Stations to redirect public funds from private sector BDUs towards the creation and ongoing funding of non-profit Community Media Centres that will be run in partnership by public libraries, film co-ops, and other local stakeholders.
Community Television should support political parties and local democratic discourse:
Community TV is free, effective, and is mandated to allow all political parties equitable access to the airwaves according to the CRTC. It’s meant to connect with community viewers, especially those not reached by other mainstream media. It is a critical tool that allows the Green Party to have more direct access to the public and overcome mainstream media’s filtering of our party’s message. Every Green Party EDA needs Community TV in its communications mix.
There are two kinds of programs that can be accessed by political parties through Community channels, hosted by cable companies:
1) Programs Produced and controlled by Cable Company Staff (CRTC Bulletin 2015-354)
During election times, all political parties have the right to equitable access to debates and/or airtime to share their messages. For these kinds of cable company controlled shows, cable staff will determine the format and length of the program. Political parties have the right:
• To be informed and included in coming televised debates & other political programming.
• To be informed of the air time(s), so that you can advertise them to journalists and the community.
2) Public-Access Programs that are controlled by the public, including political parties (CRTC Bulletin 2015-354 and CRTC 2010-622)
Public-access programming allows television access to elected officials and candidates. Political parties can get assistance in the form of training and production support to produce and air their television shows. This content can be reposted to the party’s website or used elsewhere, such as public gatherings.
For more information, please contact: John Savage, MLIS, John.PG.Savage@gmail.com