Is the CBC Moderating Online Forums to Stifle Criticism?

There is controversy brewing over CBC Radio One' s move toward playing more contemporary music in a new afternoon show that critics say sounds very similar to commercial radio.  Kate Taylor of the Globe and Mail covers the issue in an article in Saturday' s paper.

What Taylor does not cover is an apparent attempt by CBC to reduce criticism of its programming on its online chat forums.  A blog reader reports that CBC' s Two New Hours listserv was emerging as a source of discussion among those upset with the new programming choices.  Submissions that routinely appeared (see discussion earlier this month) on the site are now vetted, with critical postings never seeing the light of day.

In support of its filtering approach, CBC has changed its terms of use for the site.  An FAQ says it all:


"6. Is this a moderated list?
No. This list is unmoderated. Postings are not screened before being distributed. Postings are received by all members of the list, so discretion is needed. Consider your postings as published material."


"6. Is this a moderated list?
Yes, this list is moderated by the Two New Hours producers. Any submissions that are off topic will not be posted. The purpose of this list is to promote discussion of Two New Hours and new concert music."

CBC is of course free to make its own programming decisions and to choose how it wants to run its online discussion forums.  However, shutting down online debate seems to run completely counter to the CBC' s promise as a publicly-funded open source of Canadian content and discussion.  If it hopes to develop a large online community of interest, it should reconsider this recent move by recognizing that facilitating both supportive and critical views is a sign of strength, not weakness.    


    I have not see CBC committed to anything like: “a publicly-funded open source of Canadian content” … particularly not the open source part, cf their legal restrictions around their RSS feeds. further, if you look at CBC’s stated priorites & strat direction, there’s little to give hope to those of us in the digital world:

    [CBC’s] strategic directions are built around the following key thrusts:
    High-quality, Distinctive Canadian Programming
    1. Ensure distinctive programming of the highest quality
    2. Recognise the importance of regional reflection and of the changing face of Canada
    3. Ensure the sustainability of CBC/Radio-Canada’s Canadian schedules
    4. Demonstrate that CBC/Radio-Canada is a well-managed company and generate cash flow to re-invest in programming
    Priorities and Strategic Directions
    5. Strengthen CBC/Radio-Canada’s commitment to all its employees — to those who create and those who support them
    Strategic Partnerships
    6. Position CBC/Radio-Canada to enhance its ability to fulfil its mandate through selective alliances and partnerships
    7. Reinforce the capacity of CBC/Radio-Canada to work as one integrated company
    Strong Stakeholder Relations
    8. Enhance/strengthen CBC/Radio-Canada’s stakeholder relationships


  2. I can tell you that Radio Canada “moderates” (as in censors) its online forums very effectively by requiring approval before posting a message, never publishing messages making the show look bad. I complained to the ombudsman, only to have him forward my letter to the chief censor, Isabel Lapointe, who essentially sent me to hell.

    How much money does each Canadian pay for CBC/SRC?


  3. ACommonTater says:

    CBC Censorship may not be what you think….
    I know this is an older story but some things have changed in the last month.

    The CBC’s new forum software has *at last* exposed much of the long standing issue of “missing messages” and allowed us to finally feed undeniable proof of moderation incompetence to the CBC’s executive team.

    When a senior exec. in their public accountability office writes to you and says “I get it” then asks for a little time to work on the problem, you know you’ve made your point.

    The problem is not “liberal bias” or “government interference”. It’s a system of double outsourcing that cannot help but be incompetent.

    The full story is here: