11 March 2010

CBC discriminates against as many as there are deaf people?

[Edit 2010-11-23: I should note that as of today, it seems to me CBC has corrected their past failure to deliver media to people using Linux powered computers. That's great news.]

Is it corporate policy of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to find it acceptable to discriminate against a minority group as numerous as there are deaf people in Canada?

At least it felt that way to me today as I looked at the data. There are about 32,976,000 people in Canada in 2007. The Canadian Association of the Deaf estimates "there are approximately 310,000 profoundly deaf and deafened Canadians" in May of 2007. So about 1% of Canadians are profoundly deaf or deafened.

According to several people [1, 2, 3] who talked with representatives from the CBC, including Parker Bishop, the Communication Assistant of CBC Audience Relations, the CBC believes about 1% or less use Linux systems and that is the reason why CBC feels it is okay to openly discriminate against Linux users and purposely prevents them from accessing the news and media paid for by Canadian taxpayers!


By "purposely prevents", I mean the majority of online videos of the news and other programs from CBC's web site do not work on Linux computers even though they work fine for users of other operating systems. This is not a problem with Linux computers as demonstrated by the fact that some of CBC's online videos work on Linux OS! Not to mention all of CTV's videos work, YouTube videos work, CNN videos work, etc. It's just CBC!

Of course, it's possible that these several peoples' reports of CBC's purposely pushing their own customers into the arms of a competitor (CTV) are simply not faithful reports. Maybe CBC really cares. But I doubt it, based on the fact that I've emailed CBC about this very issue in the past and they still have not replied to me (not to mention CBC's Help page just dismisses Linux users entirely).

Anyway, if CBC's position is as reported, it is based on false information insofar as there is in fact more than 1% of the PC market that uses Linux: Microsoft apparently thinks there's more Linux computers than Apple computers, and Apple's worldwide market share is about 3%.

But the numbers actually doesn't matter! My fear is that CBC, based on their mistaken belief that there's about 1% of the market using Linux, decided therefore to purposely prevent a part of Canadian society from receiving the news! The CBC is taxpayer funded. Why would I want to pay them only to be told I can't watch the news because I'm from a measly 1%?

And again, remember that there's about 1% of Canadians that are deaf. Would it be okay for CBC to discriminate against them on the basis that they're just a 1%?

Don't forget that it's actually a simple fix for them to allow Canadian Linux users to see the news videos. So simple, in fact, that there are easy hacks out there that allows Canadian Linux users to access those "forbidden" news videos from the CBC [4].

Strangely enough, CBC's own servers run Linux (well, I guess they outsourced it to Akamai Technologies, but still) [5].

I think maybe it's time to write to a few MPs now, but I'm not sure whether to ask them to fix this issue (which they probably don't have time to understand fully), or to just ask them to stop funding the CBC (an easy political move for some MPs). Why waste my tax money on CBC when I can get everything from CTV's networks, right?

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