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The CRTC said today it would issue one-year licence renewals to permit hearings in 2010 on how television broadcasters serve Canadians.

The announcement poses an immediate threat to local programming in Canada and should raise fears across the country about the future of free, over-the-air television after the conversion to digital delivery in 2011.

Broadcasters have had an unprecedented number of closed-door meetings with the CRTC. This fast-tracking of the process is going to circumvent real discussion about the future of local programming and over-the-air television. Broadcasters have been using a weak economy to seek permanent changes to their licence obligations.

The Guild wants the CRTC to guarantee that it will seek the widest possible input before making major permanent changes to the way broadcasters serve the public.

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