Groups urge CRTC to protect Canadian media from foreign takeover

    GATINEAU, QC, Nov. 16 /CNW Telbec/ - The Council of Canadians and the
Campaign for Democratic Media (CDM) are urging the Canadian Radio-television
and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to reject an application by CanWest
MediaWorks to acquire Alliance Atlantis Communications in partnership with an
affiliate of the U.S. investment banking giant Goldman Sachs and Company.
    "On paper, the companies have gone to great lengths to meet the technical
requirements of Canada's Broadcasting Act which restrict foreign ownership,"
says Garry Neil of the Council of Canadians, who will be appearing at the
public hearing on Monday, November 19. "But if the deal goes through, it will
effectively allow a U.S. corporation to own and control two of Canada's
largest media companies." For the purpose of its acquisition of Alliance
Atlantis, CanWest has entered into a partnership with GS Capital Partners
(GSCP), an affiliate of Goldman Sachs and Company. GSCP will acquire by far
the largest equity interest in the company that will own the broadcast
companies of Alliance Atlantis and into which CanWest's broadcasting assets
will be transferred.
    "There appears to be no real benefit to Canadians from the proposed
deal," says Steve Anderson, coordinator of the Campaign for Democratic Media.
"We need a Canadian-owned system that is committed to providing news and other
programming that reflects the diversity of our population. Wall Street is not
likely to help us get there.
    The Council of Canadians and the CDM will be among the groups protesting
outside the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
hearing on Monday, November 19 at 8:15 a.m.

    About us:

    Founded in 1985, the Council of Canadians is Canada's largest citizens'
organization, with members and chapters across the country. We work to protect
the public interest by promoting progressive policies on fair trade, clean
water, energy security, public health care, and other issues of social and
economic concern.

    Canadians for Democratic Media is a national, non-profit, non-partisan
media reform network working to increase informed public participation in
Canadian media policy formation. We strive to generate policies that will
produce a more competitive diverse, and public service-oriented, media system
with a strong non-profit and non-commercial sector.

For further information:

For further information: Meera Karunananthan, (613) 233-4487 ext. 234,
(613) 795-8685 (cell),;;

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