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News | 10/31/2003 5:00 am EST

CRTC dismisses Wagg complaint against Shaw
The CRTC has rejected a complaint by Wagg Communications related to Shaw Communications Inc.’s refusal to distribute its exempt real estate channels (Broadcasting Decision 2003-518). The commission found that Shaw did not contravene section 21(3) of the Broadcasting Distribution Regulations or section 9, which deals with undue preference. Wagg complained on Nov. 30, 2001 that Shaw had informed it that it would not carry the real estate channels on its systems in Sault St. Marie ON, Fort McMurray and Red Deer AB, and Courtenay BC. Wagg contended that Shaw was contravening section 21(3), which states that if a licensee distributes one or more analog channels (sic) the programming services of an exempt programming undertaking of which the licensee or an affiliate, or both, controls 15% or more of the total shares, then it must make available an equal number of analog channels for the distribution of programming services of third-party exempt programming undertakings. Wagg considered that Shaw’s carriage of the exempt Shaw TV Listings Channel and The Shopping Channel (TSC) triggered the requirement set out in section 21(3). However, the CRTC ruled that the provincial legislature channels that Shaw carries qualified as third-party exempt programming, and hence Shaw was not in breach of section 21(3). The CRTC also noted that TSC, while owned by Rogers, which is considered "a similar type of entity" to Shaw. But Shaw successfully argued that there was no cooperation or collusion between it and Rogers. The CRTC found that it was clear that preference had been given to Rogers, but that the preference or disadvantage was not undue.

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