Michael Geist - Canadians Speak out on Media Diversity

Michael Geist - Canadians Speak out on Media Diversity

I support a policy limiting concentrated and cross-ownership of the media in Canada, and also clearly separating those who control distribution channels from those who produce, aggregate and/or distribute content.

I want a choice in what I see on TV, hear on the radio and read in the newspaper and on the internet, and I do not want any private body to have the power to deny or limit that choice.

The freedom of expression and communication that is essential for democracy is lost when the private holder of a broadcast license can deny the right to purchase advertising on the basis that the proposed message conflicts with those of others to which it is beholden (as happened with the denial of AdBusters anti-car ads a few years ago)- or when the controller of an internet communication channel blocks access to web sites whose message it objects to (as was done more recently by Telus in the context of a labour dispute).

Any public policy seeking to protect diversity in the media must recognize the simple fact that ownership matters, and carries a responsibility to the public interest.

Because this review comes after a wave of media mergers, I call for a policy that forces divestiture by media companies with concentrated holdings in a given market.

I also call for the severance of media producers and aggregators from the control of media distribution channels.

But most importantly, I call for a policy which requires those who control media distribution channels to refrain from any kind of censorship of what is distributed over those channels and to provide access to such channels at the same price for all content producers even (in fact especially) when such content may be detrimental to their own interests.

I want to be assured that my voice will be both heard and counted at all CRTC hearings on these matters.

My email address is: alan@qpr.ca

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