The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports.The CRTC’s new local programming fund isn’t any better than the proposal it rejected because two existing funds will be devastated in the process. Under the commission’s policy released July 16, the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund and the Shaw Children’s Fund - not the Canadian Television Fund (CTF) - will suffer. The Bell fund is perhaps the most important fund for new media producers, while the Shaw fund supports programming in an area in which Canada has actually been able to make inroads on an international level.   The CRTC is requiring Canada’s two DTH operators to contribute yearly 0.4% of their revenues to the local programming fund. None of that can come from a redirection of the 4% of revenues the DTH operators currently pay to the CTF, as proposed in a deal between the Canadian Association of Broadcasters and Bell ExpressVu (CCR, Oct. 10/02). Not surprisingly, producers denounced the proposed deal, saying it represented double jeopardy for the CTF (CCR, Jan. 16/03). With government cuts to the CTF this year, the CRTC could not afford the ensuing controversy had it gone down this road. Instead, it has allowed the DTH operators to redirect a portion of the 1% of revenues they pay to independent funds, such as the Bell and Shaw funds. The CRTC reduced the amount of the fund from the $12 million that Bell ExpressVu said could be diverted from the CTF (which the CBC figured would actually amount to $100 million) to $3.6 million annually (representing half of the $7.3 million that the 17 small conventional TV stations the CRTC has deemed would be eligible to tap into the fund spent on local programming in 2003). While the CRTC proposal will cause the two DTH operators to dilute their own funds, the commission is giving them exactly what they want. It is allowing them to avoid incurring additional financial obligations in terms of funds in gaining the right to not have to delete the TV signals beamed into local markets. The decision won’t hurt the bottom line of the satellite TV distributors, but it will hit new media and children’s producers square in the pocket. This type of decision is not in the best interests of the broadcasting system.