Simulating public interest: the issue of the public voice in the fee-for-carriage debate
thesisposted on 2021-05-24, 09:36 authored by Patricia Williams
"One of the most fractious Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC, or the Commission) policy hearings on record has recently come to a close. This was no run-of-the-mill, watch-the-paint-dry policy hearing. Tempers and passions flared as two industry titans, over-the-air (OTA) broadcasters, such as CTV and Canwest Global, and broadcast distribution undertakings (BDUs) such as Shaw Communications, Bell Canada and Rogers Inc. fought the battle of their lives over an issue called fee-for-carriage (FFC). The media covered the issues day in and day out. Canadians bombarded the CRTC with dose to 200,000 comments and the Government of Canada forced the CRTC to hold an additional hearing just to address the impact the decision could have on the public. With extensive media coverage and uncharacteristically active public participation, could this public policy process be deemed 'democracy in action'? This paper will argue that this is not the case. Through a discourse analysis of the debate within two distinctly differentiated public spheres -- 1) the battling media campaigns and 2) the CRTC public hearings in November and December of 2009 -- this paper will show that the public's ability to define its own interest, using its own voice, is tarnished to such a severe degree that this policy process fails"--From Introduction (page 3).