Economic Constraints, Creative Concessions

Economic Constraints, Creative Concessions

Economic Constraints, Creative Concessions




The move by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has been the source of tensions and conflicts between social responsibility and creative freedom. Different views have been presented with some groups rooting for a constructive and production prohibitive content regulation. A number of self-regulatory codes and frameworks limit the provisions of social responsibilities by allowing authorities to control and regulate the media contents. These regulations make the institutional liberalization more complex and discursive. The CBSC follow the already established creative freedom that excludes socially irresponsible specters and also resonate mobilized productions founded on ‘realism’. This, therefore, condenses the rising friction among the competing interests in the television programming. It is this conflict that results from media regulation by incorporating different culture that Negus explores cultural sensibilities within the music industry (Heuman, 2011). Negus focuses on the role of institutions in constructing cultural attributes in production.

Balancing the values of social responsibility and freedom of expression calls for the content regulatory institutions and authorities to advance diverse approaches to evaluating and understanding creative works, as well as weighing different claims against possible longstanding negative implications. The creation of a liberalized environment in accordance with the CBCS provisions is likely to be resisted, with more emphasis founded on non-exteriority and imbrication or regulation. Although this strategy offers sophisticated prohibitive regulations, it is complex applying this model in the ‘out from censorship statements. Consequently, applying more permissive regulation frameworks is challenging given that self-present rights and freedoms are granted by the external regulatory organs (Heuman, 2011). Liberalization, therefore, is a source of disengagement and looses of touch with the target population and regulators. According Heuman (2011), excessive freedom of choice in a non-intrusive environment (characterized by filters and ratings) are perfect examples of regulated freedom, and not liberalization.

Although institutions and regulations are fundamental in the media council, such regulations are not compliant with self-freedom that should be exercised in media. Besides, institutional regulations and policy frameworks aimed at controlling information flow fails to meet the transparency window as outlined in the CBSC codes. Notably, the cultural values that determine the degree of media freedom and expression are deregulated through the CBSC policies, hence limiting cultural contribution in the media (Cronin, 2009). A comprehensive approach to systemized and cultural inclusive media freedom is critical in the realization of the desired freedom. Therefore, cultural industries in Canada (like the rest of developed economies) should be incorporated in the self regulation frameworks in order to generate cultural exclusive media products. Taking into account culturally related aspects in the regulations calls for introducing sustainable and feasible social-scientific cultural perspective that is characterized by limited conservative cultural values and norms.

The major concern with respect to media culture revolves around regulatory process and structure that further influences content regulation. Like cultural institutions whose role has been limited to expression of economic and social determination, content regulation institutions’ role has been limited to social attitudes and attributes with industrial self interests and instruments being the primary responsibility. From economic point of view, content and self regulation in the media industry is aimed at protecting the infant local culture, values, and norms that are highly vulnerable to foreign cultural influx. In attempting to protect the industries long-term interest over self regulation is necessary, otherwise if left to freely operate, domestic values are at a threat of destructions and diffusion (Heuman, 2011).


Cronin, T. (2009). Media effects and the subjectification of film regulation. Velvet Light Trap 63:3–21.

Heuman, J. (2011). “Integral to the Plot, and in No Way Gratuitous”? Constructing Creative Freedom in the Liberalization of Canadian Content Regulation. Television & New Media, 12(3) 248–272.