The CRTC public hearings into community access television policy in Canada kicked off yesterday in Gatineau, Quebec. First up was CACTUS, the Canadian Association of Campus and Community Television Users and Stations. CACTUS over the course of past 18 months has put together a national coalition of groups advocating for a network of community media centers – a proposal that remarkably would see no new spending for cable companies or the Canadian public.
Last year $130 million was collected by cable companies for community access programming. CACTUS claims that this money is not being spent the way it should be. And given that less than 10% of Canadians have meaningful access to a community access channel, the accusation seems well aimed. Part of the problem is that no one – not even the Parliament of canada – can get this information from the cable companies. Sound unbelievable? Check out the CRTC hearings going on right now and see how far down the rabbit hole goes.
The CACTUS proposal would create and fund and network of 250 platform independent community media centers much like local libraries that would serve over 90% the Canadian public AT NO NEW COST to cable companies or the public.