In July 2011, the National Campus and Community Radio Association (NCRA) proposed a set of codes of conduct, guidelines, and best practices to replace the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) Code of Ethics in evaluating broadcast standards for NCRA programming. The NCRA proposal was significantly less rigorous than the CAB Code of Ethics, which is the universal benchmark used by the CRTC to evaluate broadcast standards for all radio licensees, including the NCRA.
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs was concerned by this prospect, particularly in light of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resolution targeting Israel passed by the NCRA at its 2011 Annual General Meeting. From our community’s perspective, it would be impossible for the NCRA to adhere to its proposed codes in an equitable and balanced way given their avowed anti-Israel policy. In light of this, and out of concern for the weak nature of the proposed new standards, the Centre formally intervened during the CRTC’s public proceedings on the matter in February 2012, presenting a case against the NCRA’s proposal which can be read here.
I am gratified to report that the CRTC announced today that it has rejected the NCRA’s request, citing the Centre’s intervention in it’s written decision which can be read here. This decision is a strong validation of the Centre’s position that, were the NCRA to be exempt from the CAB Code of Ethics broadcast standards and evaluated based on its own voluntary criteria, there would be no way of upholding a reasonable standard of equitable content and balance.
This is not only a defeat for the NCRA, but a blow to the BDS movement on campuses across Canada, which – in using Canadian campus media as a platform – will remain subject to a robust, enforceable ethical code and an appropriate complaint and redress mechanism.