Summary of Notes: Broadcasting Sector Roundtable
The purpose of the summary of notes is to document key takeaways from the broadcasting sector roundtable held on September 17, 2020. The sector-specific round table was comprised of approximately 15 representatives from various segments of the industry, with representation from large and small groups, as well as from across different disciplines, regions and intersectional identity communities. The goals of the roundtable are to:
- Ensure various stakeholders representing different sectors and industries are heard, having an opportunity to express their thoughts/ideas.
- Understand on-the-ground impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic for sectors and organizations.
- Have constructive discussions to help identify potential avenues that could help accelerate recovery.
- Build a common understanding of the kinds of support needed, and the role of government(s) therein.
At the start of the round table, the representatives shared their general experience on how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted their sectors and organizations. The introduction was then followed by three segments around the recovery framework:
- Resilience and Sustainability;
- Diversity and Inclusion; and
- Environmental Sustainability.
Resilience and Sustainability
To stimulate the discussion in the first segment, the following question was asked: What would organizations need to do to move towards a more sustainable/adaptable business model to prevail through similar situations in the future? Some of the key ideas and takeaways included:
- There was a consensus that the pandemic had accelerated pre-existing structural issues. Clear regulatory changes, providing flexibility to operate in the current environment, are needed as soon as possible.
- Financial support (e.g. increase in funding, flexibility in financing local and marginalized organizations).
- Incentives to advertise with Canadian broadcasters, and for Canadians to subscribe to Canadian content providers.
- Tax credits or rebates should be provided on an equitable basis (e.g. labour tax credit not available to broadcasters).
- Recovery measures or solutions should be sequenced (e.g. a mix of short-term, medium-term, and long-term measures or solutions), and should promote confidence in resuming operating activities.
- Initiatives to support local news, content and information, especially in smaller towns and more remote communities.
- Support for more vulnerable players in the broadcasting sector (e.g. small organizations, independents).
- Initiatives to increase visibility and discoverability to better compete with big players.
- In the short-term: issue policy direction to the CRTC, and provide regulatory relief to Canadian broadcasters.
- Review of the CRTC’s roles and responsibilities to better support and accommodate organizations and workers within the broadcasting sector.
- Provide resources and tools for CRTC once the Broadcasting Act is modernized so it can effectively regulate streaming services.
- Modernize the Broadcasting Act to ensure that online streaming services contribute to the system.
- Just as Canadian broadcasters are impacted by OTT services, so are BDUs: As equitable contributions by online streaming services are assessed, so should the current contributions of BDUs be reconsidered to reflect their network and platform investments that provide an accessible and window for Canadian content.
- Discuss international efforts (e.g. France, Australia) to develop a framework to govern the relationship between digital platforms and news media outlets.
Diversity and Inclusion
To stimulate the discussion in the second segment, the following question was asked: Mindful of the current landscape, what diversity and inclusion opportunities can be leveraged from the present circumstances for positive change? Some of the key ideas and takeaways included:
- Initiatives to preserve and enhance diversity so people from various backgrounds feel included by participating and raising their voice.
- Systemic support (financial and non-financial) for content production in third languages (i.e. other than English and French).
- Consideration should be given to updating the CRTC’s ethnic broadcasting policy to reflect the current multicultural reality of Canada.
- Modernize the Broadcasting Act to better include diverse communities (e.g. equity-seeking groups, Black, Indigenous, and People of colour).
- Increase in the representation of diverse communities within decision-making structures or bodies (e.g. boards, funding agencies).
- Investment in diversity and inclusion initiatives using, for example, labour tax credits or an equivalent.
- Opportunities to include diverse groups in events or gatherings.
- Focus on supporting small or marginalized broadcasting stations so they can continue to broadcast news from various diverse communities and perspectives.
- Gathering, education and training opportunities, using an online platform (e.g. Zoom) to promote inclusion and accessibility to persons with disabilities (e.g. learning experience can be achieved at home without having to move).
- Creation of infrastructure where there is a need in order for various communities to come together.
To stimulate the discussion in the third segment, the following question was asked: What environmental sustainability opportunities can be leveraged from the present circumstances for positive change? Some of the key ideas and takeaways included:
- Investment in environmental sustainability initiatives using, for example, labour tax credits or an equivalent.
- Training and education initiatives using online platforms (e.g. Zoom) to reduce the environmental footprint and promote environmental sustainability.
- Focus on supporting small or marginalized broadcasting stations, who adhere to a code of ethics, so they can continue to broadcast accurate, bias-free news related to the environment.
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