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ARCHIVED -  Public Notice CRTC 1999-132

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Public Notice

Ottawa, 12 August 1999
Public Notice CRTC 1999-132
Amendment to broadcasters' reporting of their alcohol educational initiatives
This notice sets out revised reporting requirements for broadcasters with respect to their on-air educational messages about the negative effects of excessive or inappropriate alcohol consumption. Requirements to broadcast such messages were introduced in Public Notice CRTC 1996-108, which set out the Commission's revised regulatory framework for alcoholic beverages advertising. Under that framework, broadcasters must submit annual reports outlining their compliance with this requirement. This notice modifies the way in which broadcasters are to report this information to the Commission each year.
Background
1.  On 1 August 1996, the Commission issued Public Notice CRTC 1996-108 which set out the revised regulatory framework for the broadcast of alcoholic beverage advertising. As part of these changes, the Commission announced a new requirement for broadcasters to air educational messages about the negative effects of excessive or inappropriate alcohol consumption.
2.  So that the Commission could assess broadcasters' compliance with this requirement, the Commission directed broadcasters to submit annual reports outlining their alcohol educational initiatives. The Commission hereby announces a modification to the way in which broadcasters must report this information to the Commission each year.
The reporting mechanism
3.  The Commission stated, in Public Notice CRTC 1996-108, that if broadcasters choose to air alcohol advertising that depicts the positive aspects of alcohol consumption, they must ensure that this aspect of their programming is balanced.
4.  The Commission considered that balance could be achieved by ensuring that educational messages are broadcast to inform viewers and listeners of the harmful consequences of alcohol consumption. While the Commission continues to encourage public service messages such as the "Don't Drink and Drive" campaign, broadcasters that air alcohol advertising must also broadcast educational messages and programming relating to other potential negative effects of alcohol abuse.
5.  To assist the Commission in monitoring compliance with this requirement, the Commission directed broadcasters who air alcohol advertising to file annual reports on their educational broadcasting initiatives dealing with alcohol-related problems. Public Notice CRTC 1996-108 stated that separate annual reports must be filed by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB), the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and either by each specialty service or by an organization representing them. Over-the-air broadcasters that are not members of the CAB were directed to submit their own reports to the Commission.
6.  Having had an opportunity to review the reports that were filed and assess the effects of its new policy, the Commission has concluded that an alternative reporting mechanism would be preferable. Given the difficulty industry associations experience in reporting on initiatives undertaken by all of their members, as well as the complexity involved in determining which licensees have reported through the associations and which have not, the Commission has decided that it will no longer require industry associations to file reports on behalf of their members.
7.  Instead, the Commission will require broadcasters to provide information about their alcohol education initiatives as part of their annual returns, beginning with the annual returns for the 1998-1999 broadcast year. Accordingly, the Commission will amend the annual return form to include questions on the broadcast of alcohol education messages. Broadcasters will be asked to indicate whether they have aired such messages, and, if so, how many. While licensees will not be required to provide details of the messages or programming broadcast, the Commission will expect them to retain records of such information. On a case-by-case basis, such as in response to a complaint, the Commission may ask a licensee to provide this information.
8.  The Commission considers that this revised approach will streamline the reporting mechanism and ensure that reports are received from all broadcasters, including those that are not members of a major industry association.
Secretary General
This notice is available in alternative format upon request, and may also be viewed at the following Internet site: http://www.crtc.gc.ca