We wholeheartedly support ZoomerMedia's application for mandatory distribution of VisionTV on basic pursuant to section 9(1)(h) of the Broadcasting Act.
We are concerned by the threat to VisionTV's long-term viability as Canadians who believe in the value of multiculturalism and religious freedom. VisionTV is the leading inter-faith channel in Canada that provides the most space for multi-faith programming and expression. Far from being merely another specialty channel, VisionTV embodies the essence of Canadian multiculturalism and religious freedom.
We believe that services such as Vision TV are essential to the functioning of a multi-cultural society that not only tolerates, but also actively promotes freedom of religion in a world increasingly characterized by sectarian violence and religious persecution. Vision TV provides an invaluable contribution to Canadian society generally, and our community specifically, in two related ways. First, Vision TV provides religious groups who would otherwise be excluded from the public discourse with an affordable and nationally distributed platform to express their viewpoints on important issues. Secondly, VisionTV fosters inter-religious and cross-cultural understanding and learning for Canadian society as a whole by offering access to religious viewpoints and spiritual content on the critical issues of our time. Therefore, the threat to VisionTV is nothing less than a threat to freedom of religion in Canada.
We are concerned that if VisionTV is denied “mandatory distribution” status, television distributors will replace VisionTV in the basic lineup with channels and content owned by the distributors themselves. As a result, VisionTV will be more difficult for us to find and much more expensive for us to access.
Therefore, we call on the CRTC to protect the place VisionTV has enjoyed in the basic lineup for 25 years, and block the attempts by self-interested distributors to increase their revenues at the expense of religious freedom and consumer access to religious expression of their choosing.