ARCHIVED - Broadcasting Procedural Letter addressed to Slava Levin (Ethnic Channels Group Limited).
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Ottawa, 5 December 2014
By E-mail: email@example.com
Mr. Slava Levin
Chief Executive Officer
Ethnic Channels Group Limited
907 Alness Street
Re: Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2014-541-1 - Applications 2013-1754-5, 2013-1756-1, 2013-1753-7, and 2013-1755-3
Request for disclosure of information designated as confidential
Dear Mr. Levin,
The Commission is in receipt of your letter dated 28 October 2014 (the 28 October letter) requesting disclosure of certain confidential information regarding applications 2013-1754-5, 2013-1756-1, 2013-1753-7, and 2013-1755-3 by 2251723 Ontario Inc. (VMedia), scheduled at a hearing being held on 13 January 2015Footnote 1.
The Commission is also in receipt of your letter dated 13 November 2014 in reply to VMedia’s response to your above-noted request, as well as VMedia’s reply dated 17 November 2014. We note that the Rules of Procedure do not provide an opportunity for such additional submissions. Accordingly, these letters will not be considered.
In your 28 October letter, you requested the disclosure of documents designated as confidential by VMedia, including:
- abridged versions of all agreements with VMedia’s sales and transmission agents, excluding provisions that reflect compensation terms; and
- the full text of VMedia’s letter dated 24 September 2014 (the 24 September letter).
You also requested the opportunity to review and comment on the information should the Commission agree that it be disclosed.
You argued that the requested information would be essential to complete your evaluation of VMedia’s relationship with its agents and the nature of this relationship. You also noted that the public would be unable to evaluate or comment on the various claims made by VMedia regarding its relationship with these agents if the provisions of the agreements were not disclosed.
With respect to the 24 September letter, you submitted that VMedia does not identify the information for which confidentiality has been requested and it does not provide actual reasons or evidence of direct harm if the information was publicly disclosed.
In VMedia’s response dated 7 November 2014, VMedia submitted that your requests for disclosure should be denied. Specifically, it noted that when it filed the agreements it had indicated that they contained “financial, commercial and other information…and that their disclosure to the public would have a significant detrimental impact on VMedia’s business, its relationship with its agents and VMedia’s ability to negotiate agreements with existing and potential agents…”.
With respect to the disclosure of the confidential information in the 24 September letter, VMedia argued that it withheld certain confidential technical details that would cause VMedia specific direct harm if disclosed. VMedia noted that it had explained in its letter that the confidential information was proprietary to VMedia and would, if disclosed, benefit its competitors.
Further, VMedia submitted that it was under no obligation to provide a sense of the matter to which the confidential information relates and that the public information was extensive in comparison to the non-disclosed confidential information. VMedia reiterated that the confidential information was proprietary to VMedia and that its disclosure would confer an unwarranted benefit on its competitors. It indicated that disclosure would undermine the value in which VMedia held an exclusive property interest. It also indicated that its competitors would gain free access to VMedia’s valuable and proprietary information and be in a position to use the information to compete against them.
In Procedures for filing confidential information and requesting its disclosure in Commission proceedings, Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin CRTC 2010-961 (Bulletin 2010-961), 23 December 2010, the Commission indicated that, in determining whether disclosure of the information is in the public interest, it would consider whether the information would be likely to result in specific direct harm and whether that harm would outweigh the public interest in disclosure.
We have considered your request, as well as the initial response by VMedia dated 26 August 2014 (resubmitted on 7 November 2014) and VMedia’s response to your most recent request, dated 7 November 2014 and are satisfied that VMedia has addressed the specific direct harm that would result as well as with VMedia’s explanation as to why the disclosure of the information is not in the public interest.
In light of the above, your procedural request for the disclosure of confidential information is denied as the public interest would be outweighed by the specific direct harm that would result.
Original signed by
Cc: 2251723 Ontario Inc.
- Footnote 1
Formerly 8 January 2015.
- Date modified: