CAJ urges CRTC to do more to foster diversity of voices in broadcasting



    GATINEAU, QC, Sept. 20 /CNW/ - The CRTC has not done enough to protect
the diversity of voices in Canadian media, the president of the Canadian
Association of Journalists told the federal broadcast regulator yesterday.
    In the wake of major mergers in the broadcasting industry, Canadians are
increasingly seeing local newscasts eliminated and are being forced to get
information on important issues from a single source with a single
perspective, CAJ President Mary Agnes Welch said at hearings in Gatineau, Que.
    The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission hearings
are examining the diversity of voices and a proposed journalistic independence
code.
    Welch explained that consolidation has created a culture that demands
that journalists file the same story over the airwaves, on the Internet and in
print, further diminishing the news and perspectives available to Canadians.
    "Repurposing content doesn't count as diversity," Welch said. "It's the
same content regurgitated through the various platforms. It's the same
interviews and facts, the same reporter's interpretations."
    The CAJ believes that regulations need to be toughened so that when
consolidation occurs, owners don't cut their newsrooms to the point of
shrinking local content, Welch said.
    The recent CTVGlobemedia and CHUM-TV deal has seen the elimination of a
local newscast in some cities, she told the commissioners.
    "The current regulatory framework has not gone far enough to foster
journalism that serves the public interest or to protect the diversity of
voices, especially in local markets," Welch said.
    In its written submission in July, the CAJ asked the CRTC to tighten
rules for the separation of newsrooms owned by a company, and to place
regulation of the journalistic independence code in public hands -- not the
industry's self-regulating body.

    The Canadian Association of Journalists is a professional organization
with some 1,500 members across Canada. The CAJ's primary role is to
provide-public interest advocacy and high quality professional development for
its members.





For further information:

For further information: Mary Agnes Welch, president, (204) 470-8862
cell, John Dickins, executive director, (613) 526-8061


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