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Public Broadcasting is Cultural National Defence

Canada's identity and sovereignty have been achieved by acts of public policy and public determination, based upon shared visions beyond economic or pragmatic considerations. Building a sense of belonging - a sense of community - in our vast and diverse country will continue to require effective instruments to express the national interest by enabling Canadians to learn about each other and to nurture the shared values that are the foundation of a distinctive society. Public broadcasting is cultural national defence.

In essence, the private broadcasters have served as conduits for transmitting American light entertainment programs to the Canadian public, with substitution of Canadian, for American, commercials. This generalization is valid despite the commendable record of private networks in TV news and sports coverage.

The role of the national public broadcaster is to do those things which private broadcasters have demonstrated they will not, or cannot, accomplish.

In essence, this leaves public broadcasting with the role of presenting quality programs that inform Canadians about their country's "facts, fantasies, opinions and trends -- in other words, the shared values that create a distinctive society" on the northern half of this continent.

From the brief to the Federal Task Force on Broadcasting Policy from Friends of Public Broadcasting, 16 September 1985.

This article originally appeared in Sources, Winter 1986/1987 issue.

See Also:

Sidebar: A Goal for National Survival: 50% Canadian TV Content

Sidebar: Cuts, Canadian Culture and the CBC

Sidebar: Tories are Suffocating the CBC, the Country

Inside Seven Days

Are We Manipulated by TV?

The Decline and Fall of Public Service Broadcasting


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