Unifor calls on CRTC to reject Bell Media's plea to reduce local programming

TORONTO, Nov. 6, 2013 /CNW/ - Unifor, Canada's largest media union, is calling on the CRTC to unequivocally reject Bell Media's application to circumvent their license obligations to provide local news and programming.

"If the CRTC bends to Bell Media's pressure, we fear it could be the beginning of the end of local news and programming as we know it in Canadian television," said Unifor Media Sector Director Howard Law. "Bell Media has asked previously for an averaging formula, and it was rejected. They are persistent in their pressure, but the CRTC must be equally strong and consistent in enforcing Bell Media-CTV's license commitments."

The application by Bell Media-CTV asks the CRTC to amend their license requirements to "average" local programming hours over three month periods, providing the possibility of reducing or abandoning altogether regular weekly programming.

"Canadians expect that local programming will be consistent, reliable and broadcast by Canadians for Canadians," said Unifor Media Council Chairperson Randy Kitt.  Kitt is the president of Unifor 79M, repre0senting CTV employees.

"Bell has not explained how local communities will benefit from either random or scheduled periods of reduced local television programming," Unifor argued to the CRTC. "A review of Bell's program logs indicate that its stations produce very little non-news local programming - meaning that the main effect of Bell's proposal would be to reduce the level of regularly scheduled local news available to communities. The CRTC should not approve applications whose effect will be to reduce the news on which people rely for information about their communities."

Unifor's submission to the CRTC, including the executive summary, can be read by clicking this link: http://www.unifor.org/sites/default/files/attachments/unifor_submission_bnoc_2013-529_5_nov_2013.pdf

SOURCE: Unifor

For further information:

please contact Howard Law, Unifor Media Sector Director (416) 456-1875


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