COMMENTARY: Rights squatters, Euro 2020, and Bill C-10
By Aldo Di Felice
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CARTT.ca (Toronto, ON) June 14, 2021 – FOR MILLIONS OF CANADIANS, Euro 2020 is already a disappointment, and it all has to do with what happens when the powers-that-be allow “squatting”. No, I am not talking about a new soccer tactic.
One year delayed, the 2020 UEFA European Championship kicked off on June 11, in Rome, Italy. The month-long tournament will see 36 matches played between 24 national teams in stadiums spread across 11 European cities. Like the Olympics, it’s a sporting competition with global significance, attracting a multinational, multilingual following. It will draw a projected total live event audience of 4.7 billion in 229 territories via 137 broadcast partners in every language imaginable.
And for the fans among us 36 million Canadians, we can enjoy watching our favorite team in the language of our choice… just so long as it is English or French!
Fans of the “lucky four” – Scotland, Wales, England, and France – will be happy to watch match commentary in their preferred languages from understandably biased British announcers on TSN, or their French counterparts on RDS.
But Croatian Canadians watching their team play England are inclined to turn down the volume on the British “homers” calling the match. And that will be repeated for every fan watching his team paired up with one of the lucky four. Many Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Greek, Ukrainian, Turkish, Polish, Dutch and German fans, to name a few, will be gritting their teeth.
Living in one of the most multiculturally and multilingually diverse countries in the world is not something that is properly reflected by our Canadian broadcast system. “Serving the needs and interests of Canadians” is supposed to be the cornerstone of CRTC policies. But third-class treatment of multilingual ethnic Canadians continues to be the norm in Ottawa. Even when 20% of Canadians, over 7 million of us, identify a non-official language as that most often spoken at home.
Other jurisdictions around the world do not allow media companies to engage in “rights squatting” with respect to programs and events of national importance, because it deprives consumers.
“Of course, that is a market they themselves have shaped into a lopsided consolidated industry dominated by a handful of diversified giants.”
However, the CRTC permits Canada’s media giants to license multilingual rights to big events like Euro2020 – and then not make them available. And yet the CRTC does have a rule that prohibits TV channels like ours from “withholding” programs from carriers, meaning media giants can buy and withhold key ethnic rights from Canadians, but ethnic channels cannot withhold their programming from carriers.
How does that make sense?
Which brings us to Bill C-10, the tortured proposal to update Canada’s broadcasting laws for the first time in three decades. We also happen to now be in the third decade since the CRTC last looked at the issue of an ethnic broadcasting policy. That’s a long time to wait to resolve the systemic exclusion and marginalization of multilingual ethnic communities in our broadcasting system.
Of course, we have raised these issues, and others, many times but the CRTC and government policymakers have sidestepped the entrenched systemic biases against Canada’s multilingual ethnic communities. On the rare occasions when Ottawa’s bureaucrats address these omissions, they typically rationalize their inaction by referring to “market forces”. Of course, that is a market they themselves have shaped into a lopsided consolidated industry dominated by a handful of diversified giants.
But let us be clear, it is not the job of Canada’s media industry giants to address systemic inequities that are commercially unappealing. It is the job of Ottawa policymakers to do so and so far, they have not done a good job for multilingual ethnic Canadians.
For that reason, a group of like-minded organizations came together in early 2021 as the Canadian Ethnic Media Coalition (CEMC). CEMC has been proposing simple amendments to Bill C-10 that would finally include multilingual and ethnic diversity in the system’s priorities. Diversity in our broadcast system should include 1. A diverse workforce, 2. Diverse leadership, 3. Linguistic diversity and; 4. Diverse ownership and control. All four elements are necessary to achieve true diversity and break down systemic barriers. Our broadcast system and Canadian society will be better for it. The coalition also includes Ethnic Channels Group, the Canadian Ethnic Media Association, and the Canadian Ethnocultural Council.
And for Canadian sports fans out there who love hearing their “immigrant languages” when watching TV, we are proud to say that our Univision Canada TV channel is now broadcasting the Copa America, South America’s equivalent top soccer tournament. In the world’s most exciting soccer language, Español! And we will also be bringing next month’s Olympic games to our TV audiences in Spanish and Italian, including the soccer matches!
Our multilingual broadcasts of the Olympics are thanks to the foresight and progressive thinking of our national broadcaster CBC, with whom we have collaborated many times over the past 20 years to bring multilingual Canadians the programming they crave, in the languages they speak.
Aldo Di Felice is president, TLN Media Group Inc.
COPA America 2021, June 13–July 10, will feature some of the game’s biggest players including; Messi, Neymar, Suarez, Vidal and many more.
Adriana Monsalve, Sports Journalist and host of Contacto Deportivo, discusses which teams are bringing the heat this summer and talks excitement for the 28-match tournament that will broadcast on Univision Canada en Español.
Visit univision.ca for schedules and more!
Reflecting and reconnecting—the theme for the new season of Lidia’s Kitchen, coming soon to TLN TV! To kick off the excitement, celebrity Chef Lidia Bastianich joins Antonio Giorgi to discuss what we can expect throughout the series, including the ideas of simplicity and going back to Lidia’s roots.
TLN Celebrity Chef David Rocco is making a comeback with his new series “Dolce Homemade,” coming to TLN TV. The latest series features David Rocco in his Toronto home, engaging with multicultural Canada by connecting to long distance friends through food from various cultures.
A big change from travelling abroad, David Rocco gives us a behind-the-scenes snapshot of filming the new series in his own home with his family.
TLN Media Group is a proud media partner of Italian Week Ottawa featuring a lineup of virtual events running from June 10-20. Lydia Di Francesco, Director of Community Engagement for the festival, talks upcoming activities geared towards both Italian Canadians and those interested in learning more about Italian culture.
Head to italianweekottawa.ca for the full calendar of events!
National Multilingual Public Service Announcements
to run across the networks’ TV channels and Digital Platforms
Now more than ever, seniors are in need of our support. TLN Media Group, Canada’s most influential multicultural media company, announces the launch of the network’s annual month-long multilingual Elder Abuse Prevention Public Service Announcement Campaign which will run from June 1st – 30th 2021 during Senior’s Month in Ontario.
TLN Media Group has produced 30-second PSA messages in English, Spanish and Italian languages, with the national campaign broadcasting on TLN Television, Univision Canada and Mediaset Italia TV channels with corresponding online content on respective digital platforms.
The focus this year is on raising awareness and helping with the prevention of financial abuse towards senior citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic. Financial abuse is the most common form of elder abuse in Canada, where 1 in 5 seniors experience being taken advantage of in theft, fraud, and many other forms of financial abuse. Abusers can be people who are close to their victims such as a family member, or they may be professional criminals who target the elderly via phone or internet. Whether misusing or stealing a senior’s assets or forcing them to sign legal documents they do not understand, it is important to recognize that the abuse is not acceptable.
TLN Media Group is dedicated to the wellbeing of seniors across Canada and our goal is to provide awareness of financial abuses targeting seniors in an effort against fraud and financial exploitation, and to ensure that we are looking after of some of the most vulnerable members in our community. Seniors should be equipped with the information to protect themselves, to make informed decisions on whom to trust, and to be aware of available assistance programs.
As a multicultural media leader in our Canadian ethnic communities for nearly 4 decades, TLN Media Group understands it is especially important to address these more vulnerable groups on these important issues in their first language of choice.
Join TLN Media Group in helping to protect our seniors- if this is happening to you or someone close to you, ask for help from your bank or another family member.
Break the silence. Stop the Abuse.
Italian-Canadian Author, Giovanna Bonomo, chats with TLN Media Group host Antonio Giorgi about her book “Lost and Found in Italy” which topped the Amazon “Hot New Releases” list at #1. Giovanna is also giving away a FREE Kindle copy of her book to all TLN viewers, submit your email to lostandfoundinitaly.com to receive your gift!
This past weekend, Toronto Sun’s columnist Rita DeMontis shined a light on TLN Media Group’s latest Original documentary “Internment: The Untold Stories (Il Confino: Una Storia Mai Conclusa)”.
TLN Media Group CEO, Aldo Di Felice, reminisced with DeMontis about their respective lived experiences growing up Italian in the Toronto of the 1960’s through the 80’s—overcoming the collective psychological inferiority complex. A burden imposed on Italian Canadians by the establishment and society, the lasting effects of government sponsored race based discrimination.
DeMontis writes, “Unwarranted shame is a terrible burden to carry one’s whole life.”
TLN’s timely documentary made its premiere on TLN TV and Mediaset Italia May 28th and 29th—following the historic apology from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the House of Commons for the internment and incarceration without trial of Italian-Canadians during the Second World War.
Jaime Escallon-Buraglia of Lulo Films joins TLN Media Group host Antonio Giorgi to talk producing the recently completed documentary “Internment [Il Confino]”. This moving story exposes the heartbreak and humiliation associated with a little known chapter in Canadian history that has left a deep scar on the Italian Canadian community.
As Canada’s most influential multicultural media company and the leading media source for Italian Canadians for nearly four decades, TLN Media Group takes great pride in producing culturally significant Made In Canada programs that spark important conversations and reflect on our history.
Watch the trailer in English and Italian here.