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24 April 2024

Public Consultations On Co-Development Of The Indigenous Broadcasting Policy

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On March 22, 2024, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ("CRTC") initiated public consultations on the co-development of an Indigenous Broadcasting Policy.
Canada Media, Telecoms, IT, Entertainment
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On March 22, 2024, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (“CRTC”) initiated public consultations on the co-development of an Indigenous Broadcasting Policy. This is the second phase in a three-phase process that initially launched in June of 2019.

In the first phase of the CRTC's co-development of an Indigenous Broadcasting Policy, the CRTC sought to obtain information on how Canada's broadcasting system could best complement the broadcasting interests of Indigenous peoples. It held early engagement sessions with Indigenous radio and television broadcasters and experts within the Indigenous broadcasting sector, among other stakeholders. The information gathered throughout that process formed the basis of the recent Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2024-67, in which the CRTC has officially announced the launch of Phase 2 of the co-development of an Indigenous Broadcasting Policy with a public call for comments.

The questions the CRTC has asked stakeholders to answer are divided into four sections to allow participants to identify and answer those that are most relevant to them: one set of questions relates to audience members, another set of questions are meant for broadcasters, and a third set targets content creators. Finally, there is a set of questions that relate to Indigenous self-governance and self-determination.

The questions are intended to address a broad range of issues and to reflect a number of the following overall themes, amongst others:

  • Programming needs and reflection;
  • Revitalization of Indigenous languages and culture;
  • Definitions of Indigenous content, success, and co-monitoring; and
  • Self-determination.

The co-development of an Indigenous Broadcasting Policy process represents the first significant review of the Indigenous Broadcasting Policy in over 30 years. When it first came into force on April 27, 2023, the Online Streaming Act made a number of amendments to the Broadcasting Act's policy objectives, including a prioritization of Indigenous peoples' roles, and an emphasis on ensuring that their cultures and languages are better reflected in the broadcasting system. Additionally, on November 9, 2023, the Governor in Council issued the Order Issuing Directions to the CRTC (Sustainable and Equitable Broadcasting Regulatory Framework). The Policy Direction ordered the CRTC to consider the diversity among Indigenous peoples and to support the meaningful participation of Indigenous persons in the broadcasting system in Canada.

This public consultation is a meaningful step towards meeting the objectives present in the newly amended Broadcasting Act and the recent Policy Direction issued by the Governor in Council. It also represents a small piece of the larger effort being made to revamp Indigenous Broadcasting Policy for the modern age in order to meet the current needs of Indigenous peoples within the broadcasting system in Canada.

Following the public consultations, the CRTC will move into phase three where it will present its preliminary findings to Indigenous participants to give them the opportunity to provide further comments on the proposed policy.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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