CNet News Briefs
Monday, November 3, 1997

CRTC not rushing to regulate the Web

by Sam Ladner, sam@mhpublishing.com

The Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission won't be regulating cyberspace anytime soon. Canadians concerned about Canadian content on the Web will have to wait for at least a year to find out if the CRTC will get involved.

The CRTC is still in the stage of evaluating the new medium, manager of English programming Nick Ketchum told an audience at the WebNet 97 conference in Toronto on Monday.

"The wise regulator takes the time to ascertain first if that new medium actually creates a new problem", Ketchum said.

The CRTC is currently conducting informal talks about the Internet and the new realities it creates and, he said, "that may or may not lead to a more formal process."

Ketchum took the opportunity to defend the CRTC's role in broadcasting, telling an international audience that he realizes the commission's policies may seem odd or even paranoid to those outside Canada.

"But when you live next to the world's most powerful marketer, you have to create methods to ensure that Canadian voices are heard."

Ketchum pointed out that the commission's hands-off approach to the Net is not inconsistent with its past; the first radio program was broadcast in 1919 but the first radio regulation was enforced only in 1971.

Ketchum said the CRTC is concerned that quick regulation is not the answer to ensuring Canadian culture on the Web.

"The last thing the CRTC wants to do is retard its development", he said.

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