ARCHIVED - Public Notice CRTC 84-310

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Public Notice

Ottawa, 14 December 1984
Public Notice CRTC 1984-310
Northern Native Broadcasting
The Commission has historically been supportive of native broadcasting, and has been active in licensing a large number of northern native broadcasting undertakings. There are now more than 250 radio and 300 television stations serving the North, many of which produce programming directed specifically at native audiences.
In 1980, at the request of the Minister of Communications, the CRTC established the Committee on Extension of Service to Northern and Remote Communities which included representatives from provincial governments and northern native associations. After holding extensive public hearings throughout the North and considering over 400 submissions, the Committee issued its report in July 1980. In addition to wide-ranging recommendations, it stressed the importance of initiating special measures to ensure that the distinct linguistic and cultural needs of northern native populations are adequately met.
Subsequently, in March 1983, the Government announced its Northern Broadcasting Policy which, among other measures, established a funding mechanism, "the Northern Native Broadcast Access Program" (NNBAP), to facilitate the creation and production of indigenous programming.
The NNBAP has been in operation for over a year. Thirteen native communications groups have been designated to receive funding for the production of regional native-produced radio or television programs, ten of which are now operational.
At a recent native programming conference sponsored by the Secretary of State for the groups involved in the NNBAP, participants indicated that the lack of mechanisms to ensure that the programs produced under the auspices of the NNBAP reach their intended audiences was one of the major problems facing these native communications societies.
The basic difficulty centres around the complex issue of determining which broadcasters are affected by the NNBAP; what constitutes "northern distribution systems" and "fair access"; and what mechanisms should best be used to ensure access.
In addition to the concerns directly related to the NNBAP groups, there are a number of related considerations with respect to the obligation of broadcasters serving the North to respond to the legitimate broadcasting needs of the native members of their communities.
In accordance with Commission practice, the recommendations of the Committee on Extension of Service to Northern and Remote Communities and the Government's Northern Broadcasting Policy, the Commission announces that it has struck a committee composed of CRTC Vice-Chairman Réal Therrien and Commissioner Paul McRae, under the chairmanship of the latter, for the purpose of identifying the broadcasting-related problems currently experienced by the NNABP groups, and reporting to the Commission. The committee will hold informal consultative meetings with native communications societies with the object of incorporating their views and concerns in the development of a more comprehensive CRTC policy respecting northern native broadcasting.
Following this initial process of consultation, the Commission will issue another public notice calling for public comment on this matter.
Fernand Bélisle Secretary General

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