Media regulation and public policy in Canada

How does the government regulate the media and embody public policy?

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Day: May 10
Time: 11:25AM - 12:40PM

International regulators and experts provide a tangible, results-based discussion on best practices for regulators worldwide. The discussion includes topics such as regulatory and non-regulatory approaches to discoverability, including the sharing of success, challenges, and lessons learned.

Video summary

Media regulation in Canada is a balancing act. Traditionally, governments around the world have regulated the media with public policies, like incentives and tax benefits, to preserve local content from market forces. Still common to many regions worldwide is the fear that indigenous voices and accessibility will be lost if media regulation isn’t in place to ensure equity. With media developments in nonlinear and over-the-top platforms, new media regulation becomes more of a challenge. Digital media and the Internet have transformed content space, improving media discoverability. But with this development comes the trend of content getting more global and less local. However, as well as protecting local diversity, media regulators can’t forget legacy users and platforms. To increase the challenge, media policy regulators in Canada need to predict media evolution. With all this, the role of government in media regulation is changing: more educator than regulator, promotionist rather than protectionist.

Experts in this video

Commissioner, Federal Telecommunications Institute in Mexico

Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission

Vice President and Chief Research and Policy Officer for the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC)

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, CRTC

Video transcript excerpts

“Here’s an opportunity to talk about the issue of discoverability more from a public policy perspective. The role that governments, regulators, should or should not have in this area to make sure that the public good we usually are concerned about continues to be present.”

“We’re not even flagging a taxi, we’re ordering it through our mobile devices.”

“Another important aspect of discoverability [is] making content accessible to persons with disabilities, [with] closed captions, Mexican sign language, et cetera.”

“What else? What do Mexicans watch when it comes, for instance, to paid TV? Excluding broadcast channels the most viewed channels are Fox, TNT, Discovery Channel, Fox Sports, and Golden Movies.”

“Mexico is such a rich country in culture, in food, in our history, in archeology, in anthropology, that there must be a way to produce and make profitable local content with this cultural richness.”

“I have been home more than one time with my mother, with over 600 channels and I say, ‘What’s going on?’. And she says, ‘I’m playing solitaire because there’s nothing to watch.’ And I’m like, ‘You have 600 channels,’ and she’s like, ‘Nothing’s on.’ You hear that a lot, particularly when it comes to communities where I grew up, communities where Spanish will be the first language, Asian communities. You hear a lot that, ‘I don’t see me reflected on television.’”

“Even though it’s a mass media driven by consumer demand and therefore often majority demand for certain things…we need to find room for diversity, diversity of language, ethnicity.”

“Balance, when you’re talking about trying to balance the needs…of 320 million plus people, 50 million or so have disabilities, you count the number of growing differences, regional differences and the like, that is tricky. As a regulator you’re trying to keep ahead or in tandem of the curve of the changes, or these evolutionary trajectories.”

“[We ask,] ‘How do we fuel and enable more diversity of ownership and the like?’. From a regulatory and political standpoint, honestly, it’s a real challenge.”

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