In the U.S., broadcasters and savvy consumers worry about the behavior of the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates the electromagnetic spectrum not by defending property rights, but by licensing segments of the spectrum within locales. The FCC even regulates content to some extent, by threat of withdrawing licensure.
But it could be worse. We could be in Canada.
How so? Well, Canadian politicians have long picked at a cultural scab: their identity crisis, their fear of being overshadowed by the U.S. So, up north, regulation of broadcast content centers on the promotion of “Canadian” artistry and talent in place of programming generated elsewhere, chiefly America.
Yes, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has quotas.
And like all quota systems, it has long ago embraced absurdity.
The latest nonsense?
The demand that two Canadian porn channels provide more home-grown pornography. In addition, the channels have been charged with not been providing enough closed captioning. (Just what adult movies need, careful transcription.)
AOV XXX Action Clips and AOV Maleflixxx are on notice, and their respective licenses are under review:
The X-rated specialty channels are supposed to air 35 per cent Canadian programming over the broadcast year and 90 per cent of its content should have captioning.
As part of proposed licence renewals, the commission plans to hear evidence on the apparent non-compliance.
It might be awfully funny to horn in on those hearings, listen to what people will say about upping Canadian porn production to meet standards that encourage, uh, national pride.
But the dirtiest truth is that most regulation of the airwaves is just as ridiculous, if not quite as nakedly so.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.