In framing the call-for-papers that kicked off this special issue, we asked potential contributors â€œwhat considerations might guide our attention as we think through public media as a socially central symbolic space that ought to be returned to the public interest? How might we come to re-inhabit public institutions?â€ Further to this, we queried possible contributors about the role and potentials of public broadcasting (notably the CBC) in a changing mediascape, and the possibilities for public media â€“ not limited to the specific domains of established public broadcasters such as the CBC and the provincial educational networks, but rather appealing to an open interpretation of the term â€“ that might be prefigured or imagined at present. As outlined in the introduction to this issue, the written pieces that arose from this line of questioning are varied and vital in their contributions.
To place this exercise in context, it is important to note that this special issue of Stream was conceived and produced in conjunction with a public event held at the Wosk Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University on February 6th, 2014 under the title â€˜Occupy Public Broadcasting: Alt. Futures for the CBCâ€™. That eveningâ€™s discussion brought together an eclectic panel and participating audience of media scholars, practitioners, activists, and concerned community members in dialogue and debate over the relative merits, limitations, and â€“ most importantly â€“ the future prospects for the CBC, other public broadcasters, and public media beyond this (circumscribed) context.