TORONTO — In a positively un-Canadian move, Canada’s broadcast regulator decided Monday to take a pass on regulating the Internet.
Wired pundits have been concerned that censorship, Canuck content rules and taxation were in the cards when the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission began a review of the medium last July.
Instead the CRTC has decided to leave well enough alone for now. It is one of the first regulatory jurisdictions in the world to do so.
“It started with trying to figure out whether the (Internet) was broadcasting, and if it was, we had to act upon it,” said CRTC spokesman Denis Carmel.
While the CRTC found that conventional TV and radio broadcast via the Web do indeed fall under the CRTC’s jurisdiction, they do not interfere with the goals of Canada’s Broadcasting Act and are, “vibrant, highly competitive and successful without regulation.”
Chris Carder, president and CEO of Toronto-based Competitor Communications, expressed relief at the decision on behalf of small businesses. Carder helped take a wrestling newsmagazine show broadcast exclusively on the Web to radio.
“If, on top of everything else, we had to be dealing with issues of regulation and the CRTC — c’mon, they were building (the show) for the first year and a half out of their own pocket. It would never have happened,” Carder said.
Rick Broadhead, an Internet consultant and co-author of the “Canadian Internet Handbook,” said some feel the CRTC should have gone further and distanced itself completely from the medium.