Hearing needed into City-TV local news cuts

OTTAWA, Jan. 22 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada's largest media union is asking whether the silence from the CRTC about the latest shutdown of local news at CITY television stations is the result of Heritage Minister James Moore muzzling the CRTC.

"Despite Canadians' overwhelming demonstration in the past several months of the importance of local news to their daily lives, the CRTC and the Harper government have been alarmingly tight-lipped about this drastic cut in local coverage," says Peter Murdoch, Vice-President Media for CEP, Canada's largest media union.

When Rogers bought the City stations in 2007, the billion-dollar media giant told the CRTC it supported the stations' "distinctive local programming." But now, just two years later, it has slashed local newscasts and laid off employees, despite the fact that from 2008 to 2009, local advertising revenues on Rogers' television stations jumped 41% - an amazing increase in the middle of a recession.

"While the Tories absent themselves from Parliament, big lobbyists like Rogers are given free rein to duck their promises to Canadians. And it appears the CRTC, Canada's broadcast regulator, has been told to go on vacation as well."

Murdoch says the CRTC should immediately conduct a hearing into the news cuts and if the Harper government didn't want to avoid Parliament, MPs on the Heritage Committee should be calling Rogers to task as well.

"There is something terribly wrong when a giant media company pays its Blue Jays baseball outfielder, $126 million and then cuts local news to save money. Shameful. Who is looking out for the interests of Canadians in this vital industry?"

SOURCE Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada

For further information: For further information: Peter Murdoch at (613) 230-5200 (office) or (905) 516-5720 (cell)

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Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada

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