Toronto – January 30, 2020 – The Canadian Media Guild (CMG) is advising caution when considering the recommendations issued by the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel.
The report recognizes that CBC/Radio-Canada is underfunded compared to its counterparts in other countries. It also acknowledges the large mandate of the public broadcaster which is tasked with providing programming in English, French and Indigenous languages, across a huge country. In terms of funding for public broadcasting, Canada is almost the lowest, coming in 16th out of 18 developed countries listed in 2016. The network received $29 per capita while its counterparts in the UK and France get $105 and $73.
“Like many Canadians, the union representing workers at CBC/Radio-Canada has long called for better funding. CBC is the largest news organization in the country, and it provides a crucial public service that Canadians appreciate for quality news and local programming,” said Carmel Smyth, National President of the Canadian Media Guild. “This is especially critical today when the internet is full of unverified fake news, that divides us and damages healthy debate and our democratic traditions.”
According to Kim Trynacity, CMG President at CBC/Radio-Canada, any changes that are implemented must boost CBC/Radio-Canada’s ability to deliver on its mandate, not deplete it. “There are many recommendations, and caution will be key,” she said. “Certainly, the call to drop advertising from the network over five years is premature given the continued and ongoing financial struggles to operate without stable, adequate, long-term funding. That’s why we are urging a careful review of the possible impacts before going ahead with the proposed measures.”
The CMG welcomes the Panel’s recommendations to allocate funding for news across all platforms, but emphasizes that eligible media must include all news producers. “News agencies such as The Canadian Press are an indispensable part of the media ecosystem. CP produces quality and reliable content used by all media across the country, including local news outlets, and in both official languages. As such, CP must be explicitly included in any supports provided under this proposal,” Smyth said.
The Panel is to be commended for fully identifying the ongoing financial crisis faced by the media, and for emphasizing how vital trusted news is to maintaining a democracy and engaging citizens. “The Panel’s proposals such as expanding a federal tax credit beyond five years, and creating a long-term news media fund are steps in the right direction toward a strong, dynamic media system that provides news to all Canadians. We just emphasize, they must be available to news providers on all platforms, and that includes The Canadian Press.”
The Canadian Media Guild is a democratic media union with 5000 members across the country.
We believe that a quality media system that serves all Canadians is built on healthy organizations that treat workers fairly.