CRTC process "deliberately misguided" on media ownership says CEP



    OTTAWA, March 14 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Radio/television and
Telecommunications Commission has got its priorities wrong when it comes to
concentration of media ownership, says Canada's largest union of media
workers.
    "Canada's democratic media is in jeopardy," said Peter Murdoch, Media
Vice-President of the 150,000 member Communications, Energy and Paperworkers
Union of Canada.
    "While claiming to be concerned about diversity, the CRTC announced
yesterday that the biggest deals in broadcast history will go through the
regulatory process outside the essential context of concentration of media
ownership," said Mr. Murdoch in a media release today.
    "The process is deliberately misguided to favour media corporate bottom
lines over the public interest," Mr. Murdoch added, calling on CRTC chair
Konrad von Finckenstein to postpone hearings on deals involving CTV's purchase
of CHUM, the CanWest take over of Alliance Atlantis and the Astral-Standard
deal until after the broader public policy examination of concentration of
ownership.
    "The very reason we need a critical examination of the broader public
policy is because of these mega mergers. If the CRTC proceeds this way, it
risks being seen as nothing more than a rubber stamp for what the corporations
want," he said.
    "As ownership pyramids into the hands of a few very powerful media
companies, the agency responsible for keeping an eye out on behalf of the
public simply opens the barn door to ensure the horses get out -- and then in
a gesture George Orwell would be proud of, announces that it will check the
hinges at a later date.
    "These mega mergers are changing the face of broadcasting and the public
is being shut out on the issue of concentration of ownership. It is not too
late for the CRTC to change its position," Mr. Murdoch said.




For further information:

For further information: Peter Murdoch, (905) 516-5720

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Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada

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