From the St. Catharines Standard
Thorold Backs Fight For TV Station Licence
Dec 9, 2005
Thorold city politicians have vowed to back an effort to use the national's bill of rights to legally challenge the validity of a recent CRTC decision to deny the establishment of TVN, a Niagara based television station.
City council made a motion to the effect Tuesday night at the urging of TVN founder and president Wendell Wilks, who plans to ask all other Niagara towns and cities to do the same.
Staff will work out the details of council's support in a report to be completed in time for next week's meeting.
In an impassioned speech, Wilks told council that the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission's decision is tantamount to an “attack” on the “basic” right of Niagara residents to have access to a television medium “that is available to every community of our size across the nation”.
“It's not constitutional to deny us our right to communicate,” he said, noting TVN would have boasted a 25-person newsroom. “I do think that this is a legal challenge in a federal court and we argue it on constitutional grounds.”
He noted CRTC decisions are appeal able only to the federal cabinet and there's just no precedent of that happening successfully.
He said it's a shame that Niagara, with more than 400,000 residents, can't have a television station when Yorkton , Sask. , a community of 20,000 has two.
He also questioned the fact the CRTC went on to approve six foreign-language stations after denying Niagara its television voice.
Wilks said the TVN licence application garnered “unprecedented” support from the public during local hearings, but more weight was obviously given to arguments from the five opposing media companies that control most of the nation's electronic and print media.
Wilks said the only way Niagara is going to proper is to establish an ability to communicate inside and outside the community – something TVN would have helped achieve through its thorough coverage of local issues.
Mayor Robin Brock agreed, saying the TVN concept would have helped do just that.
“Good luck and hopefully you'll get us on the airwaves,” she told Wilks, adding she'll personally send the CRTC a letter protesting its TVN decision.
Listen to TVN's CEO Wendell Wilks on a radio interview from CHSC.
A terrific interview in MP3 format, which you can stream from our site
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