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Broadcaster

Cabinet can't overturn CHOI decision: Frulla

8/3/2004

OTTAWA - It's been a busy first couple of weeks on the job for new Heritage Minister Liza Frulla.

Dropped in her lap this summer by the agency her ministry partly oversees, the CRTC, have been decisions to allow controversial Arab news channel Al-Jazeera (but with conditions so onerous that it's unlikely to be carried in Canada), to disallow RAI International and TVE, and to yank the license of Quebec City radio station CHOI-FM.

It's been trial by fire for the new minister.

As reported by www.broadcastermagazine.com in several stories, CHOI owner Genex Communications will fight the decision any way they can. The company organized a rally which police said at least 40,000 people attended, and sent a letter July 20th to Frulla's office and received this response:

"In these cases, the procedure is very clear. All written requests for the Governor in Council to intervene must be forwarded to the Privy Council Office by the Minister of Canadian Heritage. Therefore, I immediately sent a copy of the letter to the Privy Council Office so it could be decided if this request can be appealed to the Government.

"Today, the Privy Council Office sent a letter to Genex Communications Inc. confirming that, according to Section 28 of the Broadcasting Act, the decision of the CRTC cannot be appealed to the Government. Therefore, Genex Communications Inc. has two options: to appeal the CRTC decision to the Federal Court or to apply for a new broadcasting license should the company decide to meet the criteria established by the CRTC."

Genex has sent another letter directly to the Prime Minister's office. Genex officials have told www.broadcastermagazine.com that they will file an appeal with the Federal Court this month.

The station's license expires August 31st.

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