rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

National online survey launched: Stewarding community media into the digital future

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

Photo: flickr/ Marcie Casas

Like this article? Chip in to keep stories like these coming.

Nobody likes to be ignored. A national citizen's group has launched an online survey to ask people across Canada what they think about community media, the first of its kind in Canadian history. Media activists are elated that someone is finally paying attention.

"The survey is a historic first of its kind," said Sid Tan, long-time media activist and current executive producer of ACCESS Community Television. "My feeling is this survey and the results will strengthen and grow community media into the social, cultural and political force we want."

The survey was created by the Community Media Policy Working Group, a coalition of advocates, practitioners, academics and high-profile political figures like former Chair of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, Clifford Lincoln, and former Chair of the Working group on Broadcasting Policy, Florian Sauvageau.

According to Cathy Edwards, spokesperson for the group, their goal is to "draft a national community media policy that takes into account the emerging realities of a digitally networked 21st century."

Edwards, who is also the executive director of CACTUS, the Canadian Association for Community Television Users and Stations, said that Canadians have two-weeks to fill out the survey online in order to have their comments included in the drafting process.

The survey and policy initiative was launched in preparation for a major review of community TV regulations announced by the CRTC last Spring. A formal announcement has yet to be made, possibly due to a letter campaign earlier in the summer asking for a delay. Academics across Canada have asked the CRTC to postpone its review until after a major gathering of community media stakeholders in Ottawa, scheduled for Nov 22-24.

Rumours have been circulating that the CRTC wants to spend some of the $130 million earmarked for community television on failing commercial broadcasters. The CRTC has been tight-lipped about its plans, but comments made by Commissioners at the Let's Talk TV public hearings last September suggest that this is one of the ideas being considered.

Advocates would like to see the $130 million support community-based media centres that would offer digital media skills training and equipment access on all new and old media, including radio and television, web and online tools, and community-focused gaming, which is a growing in importance.

"Canadians want cable companies to be accountable for $130-million they receive annually community television," said Tan. "This has not been forthcoming for over a decade now. This money should be used to fund and strengthen community-based media centres offering media skills training and equipment access. More attention should be on community media ‘needs’ which are seemingly secondary to cable companies' corporate greed."

The Community Media Convergence Conference will take place Nov 22-24, at Carleton University.

Photo: flickr/ Marcie Casas

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.