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Canadian Broadcasting Counts with Voters

Canadian Broadcasting Counts with Voters

May 13th, 2004

FRIENDS' pre-election opinion poll shows Canadian voters favour maintaining foreign ownership rules, limiting media concentration, and strengthening CBC.


Ottawa – Measures to keep Canadian broadcasting and communication systems in domestic hands, diversify ownership of the media in Canada and strengthen CBC are strongly supported by voters. That’s the message delivered by Friends of Canadian Broadcasting to a Senate Committee studying the Canadian news media.

According to a new public opinion survey released this morning in Ottawa by Friends, political parties that support domestic ownership and control of Canadian communications and broadcasting companies would be onside with 85% of voters.

“If this Senate Committee just said no to gutting the laws that keep our media and communications companies in Canadian hands, you would have the support of most Canadians,” said Noreen Golfman, chair of Friends’ Steering Committee and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies at Memorial University.

The survey, conducted for Friends by Ipsos-Reid, reveals a public with widely-held concerns about media ownership issues:

  • Two-thirds of Canadians have an unfavourable opinion of foreign ownership of Canadian telephone and cable companies. Seven in 10 hold a negative view of foreign ownership and control of Canadian media companies;
  • A majority of Canadians think there is too much media concentration (60%), that media concentration is undermining Canadian democracy (62%), and that the federal government should limit further concentration (63%);
  • Three in four Canadians agree (35% strongly) that media owners force too many of their own opinions into the news;
  • Political parties that support limits on media concentration would share common ground with six in 10 Canadians.

The survey also reveals strong levels of support for and confidence in CBC, consistent with previous survey research commissioned by Friends.

  • Canadians give CBC top marks for protecting Canadian culture and identity on television. Since its inception, Friends research program has found Canadians have consistently ranked CBC first in this category, well ahead of other players in the television sector;
  • Eight in ten Canadians think CBC does a good to excellent job of meeting its mandate;
  • Nine in ten Canadians would advise their MP to vote to increase or maintain CBC funding. Only 9% of Canadians want CBC funding decreased from current levels;
  • 78% of Canadians think it’s important for CBC to produce local programs;
  • CBC Television continues to outpace CBC Radio when it comes to contributing to Canadian identity and culture. 58% believe CBC TV contributes more whereas 35% believe CBC Radio contributes more.

Friends’ presentation to the Senate Committee includes several recommendations for media reforms, including:

  1. Strengthen the local and regional capacity of the CBC.
  2. End patronage appointments to the office of the CBC President and Board of Directors.
  3. CBC President should be appointed by CBC’s Board of Directors, rather than the Prime Minister.
  4. Maintain current limits on the foreign ownership of broadcasting and telecommunications companies.
  5. Endorse the Lincoln Committee’s recommendations to limit media concentration and cross-ownership.

“Public opinion is clearly on the side of action to reform media ownership patterns and strengthen CBC. Friends urges the Senate Committee to act boldly,” said Ian Morrison, spokesperson for Friends.

Ipsos-Reid conducted the survey for Friends of Canadian Broadcasting May 4 – 9, 2004 among a representative, random sample of 1,100 adult Canadians. National results are accurate to within +/-3%, 95% of the time.

FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting is a Canada-wide, non-partisan media watchdog supported by 60,000 households whose mission is to defend and enhance the quality and quantity of Canadian programming in Canada's audio-visual system.

A highlights report of the Ipsos-Reid survey is available here. Next week, Friends will be releasing an Ipsos-Reid report on attitudes toward Canadian culture and Canada-U.S. relations.


Jim Thompson
613-447-9592 cell

Related Documents

May 13, 2004 - Policy Brief: Oral Presentation to Senate Committee on Transport & Communications Study on the Current State of Canadian Media Industries
FRIENDS urges Senate Committee to support the 2003 recommendations of the House of Commons Heritage Committee, releases polling data evidencing popular support.

May 13, 2004 - Opinion Poll: Canadian Broadcasting Counts with Voters
Ipsos-Reid poll commissioned by FRIENDS on the eve of a federal election shows Canadian voters favour maintaining foreign ownership rules, limiting media concentration, and strengthening CBC.