Thursday, July 19, 2012 – The CBC president’s recent declaration that “Canadian content and culture would be the single ‘biggest failed promise’ of a purely free market broadcast model” represents a point of view that should guide the revision of the crown corporation’s mandate. Indeed, this mandate, which has not been altered for at least two decades, needs to be updated in order to clearly reflect this mission, according to the author of a new publication by the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI). Yves Rabeau, associate professor at UQAM and the author of several articles and works on the media, points out that a public broadcaster must first and foremost concentrate on providing what is less easily available and what private competitors do not provide.
“For example, by broadcasting game shows and variety shows and by offering a free Internet music service without any Canadian content parameters, the CBC tends to reproduce the same content as its private alternatives. It is difficult to justify 1.2 billion dollars of public funding per year for these kinds of activities,” observes Mr. Rabeau.
Given technological change, the multiplication of private channels and the presence of quality content on the Internet, the public broadcaster must concentrate on leading-edge information services and the cultural sphere. Since these areas of activity are less profitable, and yet obviously contribute to Canadian identity and culture according to many observers, this is where the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation can make a meaningful contribution, concludes the author.
The Viewpoint entitled The mandate of the CBC/Radio-Canada was prepared by Yves Rabeau, associate researcher at the MEI and associate professor at UQAM. It can be consulted free of charge on our website.
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The Montreal Economic Institute is an independent, non-partisan, not-for-profit research and educational organization. Through its publications and conferences, the MEI stimulates debate on public policies in Quebec and across Canada by proposing wealth-creating reforms based on market mechanisms.
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