Response report to Order in Council P.C. 2022-0183 regarding whether RT and RT France should be removed to the List of non-Canadian programming services and stations authorized for distribution (the List)
The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Canadian Heritage
15 Eddy Street
Ottawa, 16 March 2022
RE: Order in Council P.C. 2022-0183
This report is in response to Order in Council P.C. 2022-0183 (the Order), dated 2 March 2022, in which the Governor in Council requested that the Commission hold a hearing to determine whether RT (formerly known as Russia Today) and RT France (collectively RT) should be removed from the List of non-Canadian programming services and stations authorized for distribution (the List) and make a report as soon as feasible, but no later than two weeks after the effective date of the Order.
The Order indicated that the Government of Canada had concerns as to whether programs broadcast by RT would violate regulations made by the Commission under the Broadcasting Act (the Act), if those programs had been broadcast by a licensed Canadian programming undertaking.
Consistent with the Order, on 3 March 2022, the Commission issued Call for comments regarding the continued appropriateness of authorizing the distribution of RT in Canada, Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2022-58 (Notice of Consultation) whereby it launched a process seeking comments on the continued appropriateness of authorizing the distribution of RT in Canada.
In the Notice of Consultation, the Commission highlighted the concerns raised by the Government of Canada and the public with respect to the continued appropriateness of the distribution of RT in Canada. The Commission expressed the preliminary view that RT’s programming may not be consistent with the Commission’s broadcasting regulations, in particular, the abusive comment provisions such as those set out in section 5 of the Television Broadcasting Regulations, 1987 and that it may be antithetical to the policy objectives set out in subsection 3(1) of the Act, notably 3(1)(d)(i), and may not serve the public interest.
Today, the Commission published Review of the authorization to distribute Russia Today (RT) and RT France pursuant to the List of non-Canadian programming services and stations authorized for distribution, Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2022-68 (the Decision), which sets out the process that was undertaken by the Commission to gather information from the public, summarizes the positions of parties, and describes the considerations applied in determining whether RT and RT France should be removed from the List.
As detailed in the attached Decision, the Commission finds that the continued authorization for broadcasting distribution undertakings (BDUs) to distribute RT and RT France is not in the public interest. Were these services licensed in Canada, the Commission would have called them to account for their content on the basis that it constitutes abusive comment since it tends or is likely to expose the Ukrainian people to hatred or contempt on the basis of their race, national or ethnic origin and that its programming was antithetical to the achievement of the policy objectives of the Act.
The Commission has therefore removed RT and RT France from the List. Canadian BDUs are no longer authorized to distribute these services in Canada.
Chairman and CEO
Cc: Ms. Isabelle Mondou, Deputy Minister, Canadian Heritage
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