February 03, 2006

No Indoctrination 6: Control & the CRTC, Protection, Language, Industries & the CRTC

Cultural Diversity and Freedom at Risk at UNESCO by Janice A. Smith and Helle Dale, October 17, 2005, WebMemo #885

Google's cache of

President George W. Bush’s monumental decision to rejoin the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2003 caught both conservatives and liberals by surprise. After all, the U.S. had pulled out of that organization in 1984 because it had become bloated and grossly over-politicized. At every turn, it espoused policies that ran contrary to UNESCO’s founding mission to advance freedom, such as advocating a “new world information order” that in the end would curtail freedom of expression and of the press.

Nevertheless, UNESCO had reformed considerably under Director-General Matsuura, President Bush argued upon rejoining, and it could be a vital forum for helping the U.S. combat the global tide of intolerance and oppression embodied by the Taliban. Many Americans swallowed their residual distaste for the organization to give it the benefit of doubt. Indeed, the Heritage Foundation and more than 50 other organizations accepted spots on the reconstituted U.S.-UNESCO National Commission to become more engaged in UNESCO’s efforts to spread freedom, understanding, education for all, and tolerance.

This week, however, all that hope and all that multilateral goodwill—not to mention all the millions that the U.S. pays each year as UNESCO’s biggest benefactor—could be rebuffed. Despite the Bush Administration’s best efforts, other member states are expected to adopt a “cultural diversity” convention that regrettably is more about trade protectionism and cultural prejudice than cultural diversity and understanding, [ http://portal.unesco.org/culture/en/file_download.php/
2962532f35a06baebb199d30ce52956233C23_Eng.pdf. ] preserve cultural expressions,” which is defined in Article 3 as “expressions that result from the creativity of individuals, groups and societies, and that have cultural content.”

The State Department rightly argues that such definitions are so vague that they could be misinterpreted to enable “impermissible new barriers to trade in goods, services, or agricultural products.” [http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2005/54690.htm]
Such vagueness, combined with an authority to “protect,” invites abuse, particularly when it comes to trade. It is easy to imagine certain countries citing the convention to justify trade restrictions against certain books written in foreign languages, or even foreign wines, because they pose a threat to local “culture.”

Imagine how much bolder such a convention will make countries like Burma, China, Iran, or Cuba, all of which are notorious for restricting freedoms, especially freedom of speech and of the press. China already forces Internet providers like Microsoft’s MSN to restrict access to the words “freedom” and “democracy” if they want to do business there. [ Mure Dickie, “Don't mention democracy, Microsoft tells China web users,” Financial Times, June 11, 2005, p. 8. ] Oppressive Islamic regimes that reject Western values, arts, and humanities could use the convention to restrict all sorts of goods that they consider perverse. In Iran, teens have been arrested for dancing, [ U.S. Department of State, “Country Reports, Iran,” 2004 Human Rights Reports, February 2005. “In October, in Rasht, Unit 110 of the Law Enforcement Forces, another police unit charged with maintaining Islamic propriety, arrested 8 girls and 12 boys dancing at a party.” ] and recently, the regime announced that women wearing their veils “improperly” would be “treated” like those who have no veil at all in public. [Iran Focus, “Iran’s new Justice Minister vows harsher crackdown on women,” August 20, 2005, at http://www.iranfocus.com/modules/news/
article.php?storyid=3388] Iran already goes to great lengths to "protect and preserve" its oppressive definition of Iranian cultural expressions.

Those who work diligently to bring attention to human rights abuses and trade protectionism should be concerned.

There already are concerns in Washington that some countries are trying to rush this convention through to use it against the United States at the upcoming World Trade Organization summit in Doha. That could explain why the U.S. is finding it difficult to modify Article 21, which obligates countries to “promote the principles and objectives of the Convention in other international forums.” And it could explain why the convention also mandates that countries not subordinate it to other treaties.

The draft also calls for establishing an “International Fund for Cultural Diversity.” Never mind that that is what UNESCO was supposed to be in the first place. The fund would be financed in part by contributions taken from the general UNESCO budget—of which the United States pays 22 percent. If all these countries are so enamored with this convention, don’t they expect there to be enough voluntary contributions to cover whatever this fund is supposed to do? No nation should be required to support a treaty that it has not ratified. If the draft convention is not reworded to remove all objectionable language, the U.S. should withhold the portion of its UNESCO dues that would go to support this fund.

Sadly, even our democratic allies support this deceptive convention that is likely to result in the suppression of free trade and political rights. France, UNESCO’s host country, sees the convention as a way to protect its wine and film industries from Californian competition. [. . . . ]

An example from 2004--Internet Freedom, China

Chinese reporters walk out over sacking of editor December 30, 04

BEIJING (Reuters) - About 100 reporters of the Beijing News walked out after this week's sacking of the daily's top editor, the latest victim of China's strict press controls, industry sources said on Friday.

But while Communist Party officials were reasserting their hold on the feisty tabloid, nearly instantaneous Internet reporting of the dismissal and a flurry of online discussions suggested some of the limits of its control. [. . . . ]

Several countries want the UNESCO agreement; then, they may control and censor under the guise of protecting their heritage.

You will learn to love Big Brother's Choices

Note how confining this is. We do not even need a CRTC; it is used for forcibly regulating content, whether the majority of us want it or not. The CRTC determines how much French, aboriginal, Chinese, South Asian, etc. programming. Actually, it is unnecessary, since programming can be provided through the internet, at present free of charge, except for the costs of being hooked into an ISP -- but that would eliminate the situation of control set up under Liberal government(s) and to satisfy those for whom it is an advantage.

Before moving to the article(s) about digital radio, note this.

Search: canada crtc digital radio,+CRTC,+digital+radio&hl=en

The CRTC authorizes Canada 's first three subscription radio services June 16th, 2005

[. . . . ] The Commission approved the licence applications of SIRIUS Canada Inc. (SIRIUS Canada) and Canadian Satellite Radio Inc. (CSR) for subscription radio services to be delivered by satellite and terrestrial transmitters, and the application by CHUM Limited (CHUM/Astral) to offer subscription radio services uniquely through terrestrial transmitters.

[. . . . ] Subscription radio via satellite radio services

The Commission is requiring that the satellite subscription radio licensees offer:

At least eight original channels produced in Canada. A maximum of nine foreign channels may be offered for each Canadian channel;

At least 85% of the musical selections and spoken word programming broadcast on the Canadian channels must be Canadian;

At least 25% of the Canadian channels must be in the French language;

At least 25% of the musical selections on the Canadian channels must be new Canadian musical selections; [That would be in addition to what is already produced, I assume. ]

A further 25% of the selections must be by emerging Canadian artists.

Note how many times "must" is used. Does this smack of freedom or of fine-tuned CONTROL? This seems to have been for those who expected departmental expansion. Note the percentages. Was this to be set in stone forever, rather like the apportionment of the SCOC? What about future linguistic change in the percentage of the population in Quebec, say allophones, or a change in other parts of Canada?

As for artists, who decides which emerging artists get air play? Would that be the unions, the National Arts Council members, others? Which musical selections qualify as Canadian? What is new? What is old? Who are Canadian?

Note that the following means that artists are subsidized by the licensees. Why? Should Canadians not have free choice to support or not to support? Why should 50% of the money intended to be garnered (garnisheed?) go to French language talent when the French do not comprise even 25% of the population?

The licensees must also contribute at least 5% of their gross annual revenues to initiatives for the development of Canadian talent, such as FACTOR or MusicAction funds which assist the development of new musical artists. These contributions will be contributed equally to the development of English and French-language talent.

[....] The Commission noted that for the foreseeable future, satellite subscription radio services will not be available in Canada via satellite facilities that are owned and operated by Canadians .... [Must the delivery be delivered by Canadians?]

Departments of Industry and Canadian Heritage stated: [ .... ]

* SIRIUS Canada will offer programming channels provided by U.S.-based SIRIUS Satellite Radio inc., which owns 20% of the shares of SIRIUS Canada. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Standard Radio Inc. hold the balance of the shares, with 40% each. [Control of 80%]

CSR will offer channels provided by U.S.-based XM Satellite Radio Inc. CSR owner John Bitove, is a Canadian citizen and resident. [....]

Subscription radio via terrestrial transmitters

The Commission also approved the application of CHUM and its associate, Astral Media Radio Inc., to offer a service comprising 50 channels produced entirely in Canada, of which at least 20% will be in the French language. This licensee also intends to offer five channels intended for the Aboriginal, Chinese, German, Italian and South Asian communities. The music broadcast by these channels must respect the minimums required by Commission regulations: notably, for popular music, 35% Canadian content, and, in the case of French-language channels, a minimum of 65% of musical selections in French.

In addition, CHUM/Astral must contribute 2% of its gross annual revenues to initiatives for the development of Canadian talent. [. . . . ]

Note: The last two paragraphs were part of something I posted Feb. 1, 06.

CRTC approves four new Toronto radio stations April 17th, 2003

[....] "These new services will reflect the diversity of languages, as well as the multicultural and multi-ethnic realities of the Greater Toronto Area," says Charles Dalfen, Chairman of the CRTC.....

Canadian Multicultural Radio (CMR) (101.3 FM) .... will offer programming to 16 different cultural groups in 22 different languages including Tamil, Filipino, Hindi and Punjabi.....

La Coopérative radiophonique de Toronto inc. (105.1 FM) - La Coopérative, a community radio station, will be the first French-language radio station in the GTA to be added to those provided by Société Radio-Canada (SRC). This locally oriented service will offer programming to French speaking residents from a variety of cultural backgrounds. The quality of programming will be enhanced by a relationship created with Le Réseau Francophone de l'Amerique (RFA).

San Lorenzo Latin American Community Centre (1610 AM) - ... not-for-profit ethnic ... [programming] directed to Toronto's Spanish-speaking cultural groups, but will also be provided in Italian, Portuguese and Tagalog. San Lorenzo will devote 60 per cent of the ethnic programming to Spanish-language cultural groups.

Sur Sagar Radio Inc. (Transitional Digital Radio, Channel 2) - ... first stand alone transitional digital radio service..... at least 80 per cent ethnic programming to at least 5 different cultural groups in 5 different languages per broadcast week, (Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu and Gujarati, as well as English which is targeted at the Indo-Caribbean community). 70 per cent of all weekly programming will be in Punjabi, Hindi or Urdu.

Since 101.3 FM will now be used by CMR, the CRTC has permitted CHIN-AM (Radio 1540), a Toronto ethnic station that provides programming to 23 cultural groups in 17 different languages, to continue broadcasting via a rebroadcast transmitter on the frequency 91.9 FM.....

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is an independent public authority that regulates and supervises broadcasting and telecommunications in Canada. [italics added]

Independent? Were CRTC members appointed? (by Liberals?) Why has there been a push to break Canadian citizenry into linguistic groups? To cater to differences instead of to similarities?

Check with the former language Tzar Dyane Adam (at the time, the Languages Commissioner) who may have more free time to explain at present.


Dutch race policy 'a 30-year failure' Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, The Hague. Jan. 20, 04, Telegraph

A [ Dutch 2,500-page all-party ] parliamentary report last month concluded that the country's 30-year experiment in tolerant multiculturalism had been a failure, ending in sink schools, violence, and ethnic ghettoes that shun inter-marriage with the Dutch

[. . . . ] It found that 70-80 per cent of third-generation Dutch-born immigrants brought in their spouse from their "home" countries, mostly Turkey and Morocco.

[. . . . ] The worst mistake was to encourage children to speak Turkish, Arabic or Berber in primary schools rather than Dutch. The report concluded that Holland's 850,000 Muslims must become Dutch if the country was to hold together.

[. . . . ] Funding was provided for ethnic diversity projects, including 700 Islamic clubs that are often run by hard-line clerics. [. . . . ]

VOIP in Canada

Canada's CRTC VoIP Decision May 13, 2005

The CRTC rejected arguments by the country's largest telephone companies Bell Canada [ including QuebecTel ] and Telus Corp who had argued that Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) should be left unregulated like other Internet applications.

Since the telcos wanted to make money developing their own VOIP and also it is an advantage to cable companies, this is why they said they might appeal and why QuebecTel was so interested in the UNESCO protocol/convention.

Instead, the CRTC decided that it would regulate the large phone companies' prices in the VoIP market to prevent the large phone companies from deep rate pricing that would prevent VoIP competitors from entering the Canadian VoIP market. The CRTC's decision implied that their decision was at least until there is legitimate competition in VoIP phone services. Thus, the large phone companies' competitors, such as Vonage, Packet8, or the cable companies, will not have their VoIP prices regulated.

[. . . . ] Currently, according to VoIP numbers I have read, there are only 25,000 Canadian broadband VoIP users and the large Canadian incumbents still control 97% of the market. [. . . ]

Internet phone service: Radical technology, telecom battle CBC News Online, May 12, 2005

[. . . . ] A multibillion-dollar industry is up for grabs.

In 2002, about 95 per cent of the local residential and business phone markets were controlled by former monopolies such as Bell and Telus Corp., according to the telecom regulator, the CRTC.

[. . . . ] As expected, the CRTC opted for partial regulation when it issued its eagerly-anticipated decision on VoIP on May 12.

[. . . . ] Bell Canada said it would appeal the decision to the federal cabinet. "IP is a disruptive technology that is changing the telecom industry and the way it enables the Canadian economy,”

At Stake: The Net as We Know It -- Google et al fear broadband carriers will tie up traffic with new tolls and controls. Ultimately, it could mean a world of Internet haves and have-nots By Catherine Yang, Dec. 15, 05, Business Week Online

The Internet has always been a model of freedom. Today the Web is flourishing because anyone can click to any site or download any service they want on an open network. But now the phone and cable companies that operate the broadband networks have a different vision. If they get their way, today's Information Highway could be laden with tollgates, express lanes, and traffic tie-ups -- all designed to make money for the network companies.

That prospect is the worst nightmare of Internet stars such as Google (GOOG) , Amazon (AMZN), and eBay (EBAY). They're gearing up for a clash with the phone and cable giants .... [fears of] a chokehold on the Web. [. . . . ]

Most phone and cable companies are no longer content just to sell Web access to consumers. After investing in high-speed pipes, they also want to peddle more lucrative products, such as Internet-delivered TV programs, movies, and phone calls. "Building these networks is expensive," says Link Hoewing, vice-president for Internet policy at Verizon Communications (VZ). "If I can find new ways to pay for this network, it's gravy for everyone."

But selling those extras puts the phone and cable companies in competition with Web services big and small. The network operators could block consumers from popular sites such as Google, Amazon, or Yahoo! (YHOO) in favor of their own. [. . . . ]

But express lanes for certain bits could give network providers a chance to shunt other services into the slow lane, unless they pay up. A phone company could tell Google or another independent Web service that it must pay extra to ensure speedy, reliable service.

Apparently, the offer of QoS -- Quality of Service contracts for $$$ is an attempt to do just that but there seems to be no or little difference in the service. Reference: National Post, Dec. 31, 05 part a series, "Who owns the Net?"

[ Result: haves vs have-nots ] Trouble is, those have-nots may include the Next Big Thing -- whether it be mom-and-pop podcasting or video blogging. The fewer innovative services on the Net, the less reason Web users have to want broadband.

Everyone could lose out. The Internet has flourished with the freedom that has been there since the early days. It is co-operative and it isn't broken. The US only administers the number blocks, though countries like China would be paranoid about spying. Canada could stand to develop a little paranoia about Chinese spying, come to think of it.

Telecommunications Service in Canada: An Industry Overview -- Section 2: Market Segments
-- Worth checking further.

The Wireline Carriers segment is the largest in terms of annual revenues capturing approximately 61 percent, or $23.1 billion, of the total $38.0 billion communications service industries revenue in 2003.

Example in the US: SBC

At SBC, It's All About "Scale and Scope"
CEO Edward Whitacre talks about the AT&T Wireless acquisition and how he's moving to keep abreast of cable competitors

SBC Telecommunications' financial performance of late hasn't been much to write home about. For the third quarter, it just reported flat earnings of $1.2 billion on revenue of $10.3 billion, up a scant 0.3% over the same period last year. But given the onslaught of competitors eating away like pigeons at SBC's (SBC ) bread-and-butter landline business, scant growth is better than the alternative. "Is [our] revenue growth great? No -- it's terrible," says CEO Edward Whitacre, who adds, "but it's a lot better than losing." [. . . . ]

One of the problems during a period of momentous change in any industry is that you don't want to get rid of the old before the new is perfected, as happened with rail lines; now, for example, in the Maritimes, citizens have airplane or bus and the cost of fuel has risen considerably. Landlines and cable in Canada are more secure than wireless which, according to an article in the National Post Jan. 2, 05, is subject to hacking into the wireless connection somehow so that an expert can take over a person's wireless computer / laptop.

Does anyone else note the inordinate degree of Quebec input in anything connected to Heritage, language and increasing control over the past many years? There are 75-80% of Canadians who live outside Quebec and at least 70% whose language is not French ... or does that have no effect -- no influence at all? I hope there is a more equitable balance planned. Even better would be to get rid of the Heritage Department which has been a department to push one of the two official languages and control; get rid of the CRTC also. Let Canadians take care of their own heritage(s), as individuals and let Canadians choose what they want to watch, listen to, view, subscribe to -- in other words give Canadians freedom of choice, not a system mandated by one area of Canada, with input from abroad. I don't think that is what Liberals had in mind.

Canadians who want more freedom have been forced to go along with and pay their taxes for all of the control mechanisms. For English speakers, it has been a very poor bargain, nor has it been fair.


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