This November 22nd to 24th, something innovative is happening in Ottawa. No, I’m not referring to our new government, but rather to an extraordinary conference that will see community media members and their supporters coming together to develop policy proposals to strengthen community media in the digital environment.

The conference and the research that is a part of it would be invaluable to a CRTC consultation process that would decide how the CRTC’s upcoming review of its community TV policies, at which the fate of more than $150 million annually that has traditionally be earmarked for the community element in the broadcasting system will be decided.

In an open letter to community media stakeholders, the Community Media Convergence stresses the need to be included in the consultative process. “As organizers of ComMedia 2015, we are therefore perturbed to share with you that the CRTC posted its public notice for the review of its community TV policy on September 14th, and that the deadline for the public to submit comments is October 29th, a full three weeks before the Community Media Convergence. This is a public-comment period of only 46 days. In 2009, the last time Canada’s community TV policy was reviewed, the public was allowed over 100 days to prepare comments. Furthermore, the scope of the current review is much larger than in 2009, and (now) includes local conventional television as well as community television.”

The ComMedia 2015 policy working group has asked stakeholders to contact the CRTC with a request to extend their deadline. “We invite you to support the request by the Community Media Policy Working Group (the group co-ordinating the SSHRC research process) to delay the deadline for written comment until after the hearing. The Working Group has requested an extension to December 11th, 2015. We believe it is in the public’s and the Commission’s best interest that the most information and data be on the public record as possible. The goal of mobilizing more credible research about community media was one of the driving forces for organizing this conference. If you wish to support this request, please either fax the Secretary General of the CRTC, John Traversy at (819) 994-0218, or click here to go to the CRTC’s Comments/Complaints page, and tell the CRTC why you believe the the policy research being generated for the Community Media Convergence is important, and that it should be included as part of the CRTC’s deliberations of its community TV policies.”

If you support community media, check out the open letter, and the letter to the CRTC that requests an extension to the consultation process. Rabble.ca is a sponsor of ComMedia 2015.