For immediate release
Toronto – Conservative leadership candidate Erin O’Toole is playing a dangerous game by promising to privatize CBC English TV and digital services, according to the watchdog group, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting.
“This proposal may appeal to the small group of die-hard CBC-haters that will elect the next Conservative leader,” says Friends’ executive Director, Daniel Bernhard. “But public opinion research regularly shows that some 80% of Canadian voters want CBC funding to be increased or maintained, including more than half of Conservative voters. CBC-TV is not responsible for the crisis facing private media in Canada; government policy that encourages the flight of advertising dollars to foreign online media giants is the culprit,” Bernhard added.
Facebook dominates the advertising market and is now Canada’s #1 source of news, though it employs no journalists, does not pay news organizations for content, and maintains an explicit policy of allowing politicians to lie in paid posts. Likewise, YouTube has been criticized for promoting extreme propaganda by the likes of Alex Jones.
Yet the professional journalism that has historically kept such misinformation at the margins is dying. According to News Media Canada, more than 16,000 journalists in Canada have been lost since 2006. More than 250 print and broadcast media outlets have closed. Around the world, including in the United States, dictators and strongmen are harassing and intimidating journalists to maintain their grip on power.
“No Canadian leader should try to score points by trashing the professional journalists who work tirelessly, often for little pay, to afflict the comfortable and keep democracy afloat”, says Bernhard. Bernhard added: “We welcome opportunities to reform and improve the CBC. But gutting it will only exacerbate the crisis of journalism this country faces.”
Friends of Canadian Broadcasting is an advocate for the Canadian news and stories we need to survive as an independent democracy. FRIENDS is non-partisan and not affiliated with any broadcaster.
For more information, contact Jim Thompson at [email protected] 613-567-9592