OTTAWA - Just prior to, and in honour of, Canada Day, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) last week announced major new strides in its initiative designed to improve the CBSC's service to Canadians whose language of comfort is neither English nor French.
The council's Ethnocultural Outreach and Positive Portrayal Initiative will use a variety of tools to reach out to the millions of Canadians whose mother tongue is something other than one of the two Official Languages.
The CBSC is the body responsible for administering the Broadcast Codes created by Canada's private broadcasters. The council, which has existed since 1990, administers stringent industry standards in the form of codes on ethics, journalistic ethics, gender portrayal and television violence. More than 550 radio and television stations and specialty services from across Canada are members of the Council, and abide by its decisions.
"This new outreach initiative will enable the Council to offer its services to a vast number of Aboriginal and new Canadians across the country, in their own languages," said Ron Cohen, national chair of the CBSC. "It is the Council's hope that all Canadians will become more familiar with Canadian broadcasting standards, whatever their mother tongue. As we celebrate Canada and its great diversity, I am pleased that the scope of this undertaking sets a new standard for multicultural outreach. It is a symbol of our commitment to serve all Canadians."
The CBSC has now translated much of the information about the services it renders into over 30 languages, reflecting Afro-Asian-European and Aboriginal ethnocultural communities in Canada. As a result, television viewers and radio listeners not fluent in English or French will now be able to gain access to the provisions of the CBSC's private broadcaster codes and take advantage of the services offered by the Council.
This information is provided in brochures written in the various languages, all of which are also easily accessed on the Council's web site (www.cbsc.ca). The CBSC has also placed public service announcements in those languages in ethnocultural newspapers around the country to raise awareness of this initiative, and has hired a staff member to co-ordinate its activities related to this new undertaking.
The funding for this initiative was provided by Rogers Communications, which identified the promotion of cultural diversity as a significant benefit in its licence application for the OMNI.2 television service. Rogers chose the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council as the organization to carry out this outreach initiative as a result of the CBSC's sterling reputation for even-handedness, professionalism and active support for cultural diversity.
"Canada's private broadcasters are committed to the principle of reflecting our nation's cultural diversity, and the CBSC is pleased to be able to help them achieve that objective. In the months ahead, we look forward to working with broadcasters across the country as they seek to deliver high quality programming to all Canadians," Cohen concluded.
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