Purchase of Shaw Media sets stage for closures, consolidations

OTTAWA, Jan. 13, 2016 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of Journalists is concerned a $2.6-billion sale of Shaw Media Inc. could lay the foundation for a series of negative changes to the broadcasting industry in Canada.

The purchase announced Wednesday involves selling the media assets of Shaw Communications Inc. to Corus Entertainment Inc. A plurality of shares in both companies is owned by the Shaw family.

The announcement is symptomatic of what can happen in a landscape dominated by fewer than a handful of corporations – the transfer of jobs and assets from one hand to another within a larger corporate structure to free up cash for other purposes. In this case – where the CAJ's concerns lie – it will bring 15 television stations, 39 radio stations, 45 specialty channels and their associated digital properties under Corus' management.

"This purchase only lays the groundwork for further consolidation and closures within the Canadian broadcasting industry. Such reductions, while favourable on a balance sheet, mean fewer options for those looking for original Canadian content on their TVs, radios and devices," CAJ president Nick Taylor-Vaisey said. "They also mean fewer jobs, in Canada, for those who create that content.

"We urge Corus, should it choose to consolidate any of its properties, to preserve Canadian content and jobs in its newsrooms and production studios."

The CAJ continues to hold its longstanding concern with the ongoing consolidation of ownership in the media sector and the negative impact this has on diversity of voices, availability of local news and information and opportunities for journalists.

The CAJ is Canada's largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing more than 600 members across the country. The CAJ's primary roles are to provide high-quality professional development for its members and public-interest advocacy.

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SOURCE Canadian Association of Journalists

For further information: Nick Taylor-Vaisey, CAJ president, 647-968-2393, nick@caj.ca


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