Canada minister urges new media laws to boost local content: paper

TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada’s Liberal government is prepared to overhaul the country’s laws governing broadcasting, media and cultural industries to support local content, Heritage Minister Melanie Joly told the Globe and Mail in a report yesterday, announcing a new policy direction in what she called a broken system.

Melanie Joly
Melanie Joly

Canada’s broadcast regulator has long had requirements for networks to carry certain amounts of local content. But it cut that quota drastically last year under the Conservative government, after the industry was shaken up by the arrivals of online media services such as the streaming site Netflix.

Joly told the Globe she was willing to change laws such as the Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act and modify the mandates of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) broadcast regulator and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp public media organization. She added the government would also create new laws or agencies, as needed.

Joly’s Canadian Heritage federal department yesterday announced a public consultation on how to support and promote Canadian content in the current digital climate. The department said in a statement it has made available a preconsultation questionnaire on media consumption habits and expectations that will be open until May 20. The department said Joly will lead the next phase, which will begin in the summer, though it did not give further details.

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