With major changes set to take place to the Broadcasting Act, the Telecommunications Act, and the Copyright Act—and with global Internet giants like Google, Facebook, and Netflix coming under increased scrutiny—the future of the media industries in Canada is a hot topic of policy attention and public debate.

Professor Dwayne Winseck hosted a “critical conversation” on March 5 about the future of media industries in Canada, featuring presentations from professors, graduate students, alumni, and industry leaders. The speakers (Len St. Aubin, Val Steeves, Jesse Hirsh, Sheehan Carter, Lianrui Jia, and Ben Klass) shared their ideas and expertise on key issues facing Internet and wireless-centric communications for the 21st century.

“We were thrilled to host this discussion about one of our most important contemporary issues in Canadian politics and public policy,” School Director Josh Greenberg explained. “On the occasion of our Communication program’s 40th anniversary, it was important to remind ourselves and others of the key role our School has played over the years in contributing important conversations about policy and regulation of Canada’s media industries.” All of the speakers, he notes, were distinguished alumni or current students in the School of Journalism and Communication.

Broadly, the themes of the discussion reflected on changes that could help address new realities, possibilities, and potential problems arising from the expanding role Google, Amazon, and Netflix play in Canada, and how they might be best harnessed for meeting the needs of Canadians, consumers, the economy, and society.

According to Professor Winseck, “a wide range of hotly contested views was on display, with those who think that the future must be all about communication and connectivity bumping up against those who want to regulate content and promote Canadian culture by refashioning policy tools created in the 1970s for the internet and the 21st Century”.

The event concluded with a moderated conversation in which the speakers addressed questions about a broad range of policy issues in media studies; governance and automation; the pro’s and con’s of the internet; Canadian content regulations; new legislation; and questions about how updates to standing legislation should serve Canadians at large, including to those who live in rural parts of the country who are still without proper internet coverage.

Thursday, March 14, 2019 in ,
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