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Broadcast Licenses for Religious Groups

By Ulli Diemer

Letter to:
The Secretary General
Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission
Terrasses de la Chaudiere, Central Building, 1 promenade du Portage
Hull, Quebec K1A 0N2


Re: Public Notice CRTC 1999-2 Crossroads Television Service (CTS)

I am writing to express my opposition to the proposal by Crossroads Television Systems to extend its programming across Canada.

I believe that broadcast licenses for stations affiliated with particular religious denominations are in contravention of the principles of democratic pluralism which most Canadians value highly, and more particularly, in contravention of the principles which have governed access to the public airwaves.

A democratic, pluralistic society is possible only if there exists the opportunity for on-going dialogue and debate among the many different points of view existing in society. Such dialogue is already limited by the existing concentration of media ownership in a relatively few corporate hands.

If the trend is to be that each religious, political, and ideological group is to have control of its own stations, Canadian society will increasingly be fragmented into hostile ideological groups who do not communicate with each other or even get to hear each other's views. If such a license is granted to one religious group which claims to have a monopoly on truth, then what possible argument could there be against giving a license to every group -- religious, political, or special interest -- that asked for one and had the finances to support it?

Religious freedom does not imply the right of any group to use the public airwaves to promulgate their own religious views while excluding all conflicting points of view. Nor does religious freedom imply the right to be exempt from the principles which govern all broadcasters in Canada.

I hope that the CRTC will firmly reject the application from CTS, and similarly reject any further applications from groups wishing to promote a single point of view while excluding others.

Sincerely,

Ulli Diemer
February 10, 1999



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