The following has been published as a working paper on SSRN. Comments are very welcome. It’s already going out of date in at least three areas.

‘It Is Hereby Declared’: The Quiet Reform of Canadian Broadcasting Law

This paper, presented at the Media and Communications session of the Society of Legal Scholars in 2008, is a review of recent developments in Canadian broadcasting regulation, with an emphasis on those developments related to the growth of (mostly Internet-based) new media. It is argued that dealing with the question of new media represents a particular challenge for the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and to the landmark Broadcasting Act of 1991. It is also proposed that the parallel discussions in the public policy arena on cultural funding and intellectual property form an integral part of the broadcasting regulatory system in the current age. Taken together, the various initiatives and decisions of the last five years represent quite significant reform, and it can be said that the mandate for broadcasting in Canada set out in the Act is undergoing a subtle transformation, whether that be through CRTC, industry or other action. In this context, concerns raised regarding transparency and participation in the democratic process, key elements of the historical approach to broadcasting and the law in Canada, are highlighted and assessed.

I enjoyed working on this as it was a good way to try and bring together what is literally a pile of notes, photocopies, bookmarks and ideas gathered over a few years. It really was a reminder of how much is going on, though – and indeed how much has happened over the short period of my own doctoral studies. Confucius how are ya? Presenting it at the SLS last month, it turned out that I was speaking alongside Mike Varney and Ian Walden, and an interesting link based around net neutrality did emerge from all of the contributions.