Response to Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 1998-82
Telecom Public Notice CRTC 98-20
"New Media - Call for Comments"
... the burden on the government will be onerous to show why any action that violates free speech should not be struck down by the courts.
... In many ways, it may be said that electronic media such as Internet are the posters of the late twentieth century providing an invaluable means of expression to a wide audience...
... We must be very careful not to unduly restrict free speech simply because it is difficult to control the illegal use of information technologies. Systems such as Internet can enhance an individual's ability to promote truth, political and social participation, and self-fulfilment. Since these goals lie at the core of free speech, one might expect that it would be very difficult for the government to legitimately pass any regulations prohibiting the use of Internet .
"program" means sounds or visual images, or a combination of sounds and visual images, that are intended to inform, enlighten or entertain, but does not include visual images, whether or not combined with sounds, that consist predominantly of alphanumeric text;By far the vast majority of traffic on the Internet consists of alphanumeric text, and hence does not fall under the terms of the Broadcasting Act.
Because of problems of interference between broadcast signals, a finite number of frequencies can be used productively; this number is far exceeded by the number of persons wishing to broadcast to the public. In light of this physical scarcity, Government allocation and regulation of broadcast frequencies are essential... However, this argument is specious in several respects. First, all economic goods are scarce, so this fact alone does not suffice to justify regulation. Newspaper presses are expensive, but this has not justified federal regulation of newspapers. Second, the scarcity of the broadcast spectrum is highly overrated. In addition to cable, consumers have access to a wide spectrum of broadcasting substitutes, such as satellite dishes, VCR's, and compact disc systems. As the technology improves, we can expect that it will be possible for thousands more stations to broadcast without interference. Third, statistics show that in fact there are currently many more broadcasting outlets than newspapers. Fourth, less capital is required to start a new radio or television station than to start a daily newspaper .