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Have your say tonight on the CBC you want

Aug 14 2012

Members of the public have an opportunity tonight to share their views on the future of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. at a panel discussion.

The CBC We Want is the theme of the discussion hosted by Friends of Canadian Broadcasting. It is part of a nationwide campaign to encourage dialogue about the public broadcaster in advance of its licence review by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

The event will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. at CFB Esquimalt's Pacific Fleet Club.

The CRTC has scheduled public hearings on the issue beginning Nov. 19.

It's the first time in 12 years the CRTC has reviewed the licences of the CBC.

"We see that as an important occasion and it is an occasion where we want to encourage the public to make their views known," Friends of Canadian Broadcasting spokesman Ian Morrison told the Times Colonist editorial board Monday.

Morrison warned that the Conservative government's recent budget cuts to the CBC - including $115 million over the next three years, announced in March - threaten the integrity of the radio and TV broadcaster.

Since then, the CBC has announced plans to place ads on its Radio 2 service - an application that the CRTC will consider during the November hearings.

"It strengthens democracy to have a service that is not tied to delivering audience to advertisers, but is instead doing programming for citizens," Morrison said.

"It helps people to have a better understanding of the forces that shape their lives, so we think there is a democratic deficit when we under-invest in public broadcasting."

Friends of Canadian Broadcasting will gather the feedback and present it to the regulatory body, he said.

asmart@timescolonist.com

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