CRTC approves Fox News for Canada

Fox News will be coming to Canadian digital television after CRTC approves application by cable association.

The conservative-leaning Fox News Channel will soon be coming to Canadian digital television channels.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approved an application Thursday to bring the Fox News Channel, one of the highest-rated news channels in the United States, onto Canadian digital airwaves.

The Canadian Cable Telecommunications Association (CCTA) applied to the broadcast regulator in April.

Canadians already have access to the main Fox network, but not the right-leaning, 24-hour news channel, with its trademarked slogan of "fair and balanced."

The Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) opposed the application, saying it would discourage foreign broadcasters from partnering with Canadian broadcasters.

However, in its decision, the CRTC said Fox News offers little Canadian coverage and is not "partially or totally competitive with any Canadian pay or specialty service." It added that the channel would "significantly boost digital penetration in Canada" and increase the availability of digital services in the country.

The CRTC also approved the NFL Network, a 24-hour "lifestyle and entertainment" channel for football fans. It doesn't carry live games, with the exception of a few exhibition games.

Past application rejected

The CRTC rejected a CCTA application to bring Fox to Canada last November because Fox News U.S. and Winnipeg-based Global Television were planning to create Fox News Canada, a combination of U.S. and Canadian news.

However, in March, a Fox U.S. executive said there were no plans to create the combined channel.

The CRTC was thrust into the spotlight in July after giving conditional approval to the digital broadcast of Arab television station al-Jazeera.

The commission said Canadian carriers had to keep an "audio-visual recording" of the controversial network's broadcasts. It told Canadian distributors to monitor the broadcast 24 hours a day, giving them permission to "alter or curtail" programming to keep out abusive commentary, especially of an anti-Semitic nature.

No Canadian distributors carry al-Jazeera.

Fox was launched in 1996 by a former Republican advisor, Roger Ailes. It's a subsidiary of News Corp. Ltd., which is controlled by right-wing Australian media tycoon Rupert Murdoch.