Public Interest in Communications: Beyond Access to Needs
The Canadian government’s shift to a neo-liberal communication policy regime has also been accompanied by a narrowing of the public service aspect of public interest in communications. This has had a major impact on community organizations that provide communication and information services to citizens. As part of the regime both federal and provincial levels of government invested heavily in advanced digital networks and systems that permitted the outsourcing of public and social services, which were previously provided by government, to community organizations. The paper shows that these services were provided with government short term programs and initiatives, which only provided the community centers with connectivity or learning networks. It also notes that the government electronic systems measured and monitored organizational service delivery and citizen interactivity. The paper proposes extending and strengthening democratic communication rights and social collective obligations as part of the public interest in communications to address the broader needs that permit communities and individuals to realize their full capabilities.