FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 16, 2007
Groups urge CRTC to protect Canadian media from foreign takeover
Gatineau – The Council of Canadians and the Campaign for Democratic Media (CDM) are urging the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to reject an application by CanWest MediaWorks to acquire Alliance Atlantis Communications in partnership with an affiliate of the U.S. investment banking giant Goldman Sachs and Company.
“On paper, the companies have gone to great lengths to meet the technical requirements of Canada’s Broadcasting Act which restrict foreign ownership,” says Garry Neil of the Council of Canadians, who will be appearing at the public hearing on Monday, November 19. “But if the deal goes through, it will effectively allow a U.S. corporation to own and control two of Canada’s largest media companies.” For the purpose of its acquisition of Alliance Atlantis, CanWest has entered into a partnership with GS Capital Partners (GSCP), an affiliate of Goldman Sachs and Company. GSCP will acquire by far the largest equity interest in the company that will own the broadcast companies of Alliance Atlantis and into which CanWest’s broadcasting assets will be transferred.
“There appears to be no real benefit to Canadians from the proposed deal,” says Steve Anderson, coordinator of the Campaign for Democratic Media. “We need a Canadian-owned system that is committed to providing news and other programming that reflects the diversity of our population. Wall Street is not likely to help us get there.”
The Council of Canadians and the CDM will be among the groups protesting outside the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) hearing on Monday, November 19 at 8:15 a.m.
Founded in 1985, the Council of Canadians is Canada’s largest citizens’ organization, with members and chapters across the country. We work to protect the public interest by promoting progressive policies on fair trade, clean water, energy security, public health care, and other issues of social and economic concern.
Canadians for Democratic Media is a national, non-profit, non-partisan media reform network working to increase informed public participation in Canadian media policy formation. We strive to generate policies that will produce a more competitive diverse, and public service-oriented, media system with a strong non-profit and non-commercial sector.
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Stop the Big Media Takeover
What’s At Stake
Over 1,900 Canadians from across the country swamped the CRTC with comments demanding a less concentrated, more diverse media system.
Media ownership is more highly concentrated in Canada than almost anywhere else in the industrialized world. As of 2005, almost all private Canadian television stations are owned by national media conglomerates and, because of increasing cross-ownership, most of our newspapers are owned by the same corporations that own television and radio stations.This means a handful of Big Media Conglomerates control what Canadians see, hear and read. It means less local and regional content, more direct control over content by owners and less analysis of the events that shape our lives. It also means less media choice for Canadians and fewer Canadian journalists covering news and events that Canadians care about.
As big media increasingly merge with Internet service providers, we also risk unwittingly trading our open Internet for a closed system. In such a system, Internet (and cell phone) service providers can push traffic to their own content and that of their partners, while traffic to other more diverse media sites is slowed or blocked. We need to reverse this trend before big media gets even bigger!
1. Contact your MP and tell them to stand up for media diversity:Find your MP by Postal CODE
We recommend you write a personal letter but you can also use this pre-written letter, you can also learn more about the issues.
2. Stay informed on crucial media democracy points of interventions, sign up to our MediaActive Mailing list
The MediaActive mailing will keep you in loop regarding pressing Canadian media reform matters. The list won’t clog your inbox. SIGN UP
3. Add your name or an organization/business you represent to our growing list of Campaign supporters.
4.Spread the word
Unless citizens speak out, the debate will continue to be dominated by large media corporations. Please forward this message to encourage others to participate in this crucial campaign. Tell your family and friends about this important campaign.
“Rules to curb the concentration of media in Canada are long overdue. In Vancouver, Canwest controls both the main newspapers plus television. News items and opinions that disagree with Canwest’s are simply not reported. We cannot sustain a democracy without a free press. I have written to my MP several times about this, but still nothing is done. The CRTC must act NOW, to diminish media concentration in our country.”
~Olive Skene Johnson – Vancouver, B.C.
See what other Canadians are saying