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Old 06-22-2006, 06:30 PM   #1
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cbc television to become ad free?

what are your thoughts on this?

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/MediaNew...643805-cp.html

OTTAWA (CP) - Cheers and jeers greeted the release Wednesday of a Senate report recommending a commercial-free CBC-TV and limits on media ownership.

Working journalists praised it while newspaper bosses panned it as an assault on freedom of the press. There was no immediate comment from the Harper government, which will have to decide whether to implement any or all of the report - or shelve it along with so many past studies of the state of Canada's media industry.

The latest document is the product of three years of study by the Senate's transport and communications committee. It concludes that Canadians are generally well-served by their news-gathering organizations.

However, in some areas of the country, the report says "the concentration of ownership has reached levels that few other countries would consider acceptable."

"An important element of a free press is that there be a variety of different sources of news and opinion," the report states.

It recommends beefing up the Competition Act to require an automatic review of media mergers whenever certain unspecified thresholds are exceeded.

"The country will be poorly served if as few as one, two or three groups control substantial portions of the news and information media in particular markets or within the country as a whole.


"In simple terms, there is a public interest in having a plurality of owners. There is also a public interest in complementing private-sector news organizations with a national public broadcaster."

The report recommends that the CBC stop trying to compete with private broadcasters, that it cease coverage of professional sports and the Olympics and gradually phase out commercials. It calls on the federal government to boost the CBC's almost $1-billion annual funding level to make up for the loss of about $400 million a year in advertising revenue.

"We have come to the conclusion that CBC-TV in particular, in both official languages, is in danger of losing its way. It's trying to be all things to all people," Liberal Senator Joan Fraser, a former print journalist who chaired the committee, told a news conference.

As proof, she pointed to the CBC's decision to bump The National, its flagship news program, to make room for a new American reality show this summer.

"They made our case for us."

CBC spokesperson Katherine Heath-Eves said the broadcaster welcomes a discussion about its role and mandate. But she stressed the CBC couldn't eliminate advertising without a firm commitment that government would fill the resultant "hole in our funding."

Heath-Eves rejected the idea that the CBC should stop covering sports.

"Sporting events like hockey and the Olympics are nation-building events and ones that Canada's public broadcaster should be a part of," she said.

The committee's proposed limitations on media ownership met with even more resistance.

"They say that government has to regulate news to ensure diversity of views and that's just wrong," said Anne Kothawala, president of the Canadian Newspaper Association.

"There's no role for government in regulating the news media . . . That's what freedom of the press is all about."

Similarly, Conservative Senator Pat Carney cited press freedom in a dissenting opinion on the recommendation to include media mergers in the Competition Act.

Other committee members insisted their recommendations would not amount to government interference in news content or news management.

"We're not saying big is bad," said Liberal Senator Jim Munson, a former CTV reporter.

"We're just saying the public has a right to be heard when big gets even bigger, and that's what we're talking about with this review mechanism."

The committee deliberately did not specify the threshold that must be exceeded to trigger a merger review, although the report notes that 35 per cent of market share is the norm for Competition Bureau reviews in other industries.

Fraser said the committee decided it would be better to be flexible and let the government deal with media mergers on a case-by-case basis.

A company that owns the only newspaper and the only TV station in a small town may be doing a public service, Fraser said, whereas it wouldn't be in the public interest to have one company monopolize newspaper and TV audiences in a large city like Toronto.

The report does not recommend any retroactive action be taken to reduce existing concentration of ownership, even though Munson said the committee heard "worrisome" tales from some journalists, particularly in New Brunswick where the Irving family owns all three daily newspapers as well as community papers and broadcast outlets.

"There is a prevailing feeling amongst some journalists in Atlantic Canada of self-censorship, that some are afraid to write what they actually think is right because they work in an environment where there is one dominant player."

Conservative Senator David Tkachuk said the committee heard similar concerns in Vancouver, where CanWest Global owns both daily newspapers and the most-watched suppertime TV newscast.

The Canadian Media Guild, which represents 6,000 journalists and other media workers across the country, supported making media mergers subject to a Competition Act review.

"CMG members have seen the adverse effect of media consolidation and the quest to 'streamline' newsgathering between various units of a single media company," said Guild president Lise Lareau.

"The gutting of content by media companies does not serve Canadians well and the Senate committee has recognized this fact."

Key recommendations from the Senate report on Canada's media:

-Beef up the Competition Act to require an automatic review of proposed media mergers if certain thresholds are reached.

-The CBC should develop a plan to focus on its core mandate and drop advertising.

-The federal government should make a commitment to provide realistic and stable funding to the CBC on a long-term basis.

-The CBC should not duplicate the private sector and should drop coverage of professional sports and the Olympics.

-The CRTC should properly monitor the terms and conditions that it imposes on the news operations of companies involved in cross-media mergers.

-Give the CRTC the power to levy fines on broadcasters.

-The access to information system should be: simplified to make it more transparent and accessible; expanded to include crown corporations; and monitored so that costs for searches are reasonable and searches are conducted with reasonable dispatch.

- Applications to judges for search warrants for journalists' notes should require the signature of a cabinet minister.

-News media outlets should be required to regularly state the identity of their controlling shareholder(s).

-The CRTC should revise its community television and radio regulations to ensure that access to the broadcasting system is encouraged and that a diversity of news and information programming is available.

- The Department of Canadian Heritage should provide support for the start-up of magazines and recognize Canadian editorial content distributed via mechanisms such as the Internet.

-More funding for the Publications Assistance Program to provide more support for small and start-up publications.
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Old 06-22-2006, 06:38 PM   #2
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considering that, far and away, the best sources of news in the US are those that are commercial free -- PBS and NPR -- i'd have to say i'm all for it.

it's corporate bias that distorts the news and twists the content of fictional shows -- i have a friend who's job it is to screen shows and determine whether or not there is any content that could possibly be offensive to corporate sponsors.
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Old 06-22-2006, 07:39 PM   #3
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I think it is unrealistic and the CBC will disappear if they have no revenue streams. It's wonderful if the Feds plan on supporting the CBC and the arts but don't count on it. It would be great but as the CBC spokesperson said, government has to firmly commit to filling the hole left by lack of advertising. In our country's climate right now, I doubt this government would commit to increasing funding since it has expressed opposite views in the past.

CBC's sports coverage surpasses private networks especially during the Olympics. So I would definitely disagree with the CBC dropping sports, who else broadcasts speed skating, rowing, track & field, judo, bobsleigh, swimming, diving and other sports which aren't mainstream? CTV and TSN won't.

CBC news coverage is second to none perhaps the BBC and lack of funding will hurt that department as talent leaves for greener pastures.

The monopolization of ownership is a good issue to tackle as our US neighbours have already seen its effects. Multiple perspectives are superior to one view which is perhaps why the internet is a growing source of news info for many people.


ETA actually like most Senate reports, this will just be filed away and ignored anyway so it pretty much amounts to a bunch of people sitting around in a coffee shop with no real action being taken. LET"S FORM A COMMITTEE TO EXAMINE THE ISSUE!! Ok, now let's not do anything with the report. Sounds like everyday life to me. Cynical rant finished.
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Old 06-22-2006, 08:24 PM   #4
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I remember CBC back when it had PBS-style pledges. It was really quite lame.

So, as much as I dislike commercials like anyone else, there are drawbacks to becoming non-commercial. I also think a lot of media-types who depend on CBC for employment would be hurt by such an arrangement.

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Old 06-22-2006, 09:48 PM   #5
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...but the bbc does it.

doesn't every household in britain who has the bbc pay like 20 quid a year for its services?
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Old 06-22-2006, 10:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
I remember CBC back when it had PBS-style pledges. It was really quite lame.
I don't ever remember CBC having pledge-drives. And I'm pretty old.

Like trevster2k said, this is kind of surprising, given that for many years now, the move has been away from government financing the arts.

Another interesting tidbit is that the article repeatedly talks about the mandate of the CBC. Just what is that mandate? Elliminate sports from the equation, and the already paltry viewership will decrease that much more.

Monopolization of media outlets is a really important issue, though, and I'm glad they're addressing it. Clear Channel, anyone?
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Old 06-22-2006, 10:45 PM   #7
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CBC has the best coverage of hockey in the world. Theres no way in hell that Canadians would stand for losing Hockey Night in Canada.
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Old 06-22-2006, 11:19 PM   #8
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CBC has the best coverage of hockey in the world. Theres no way in hell that Canadians would stand for losing Hockey Night in Canada.
We might lose it to CTV/ TSN. Rumours abound that they want it and I can't see CBC being able to match their bid for the rights. The upcoming season is the last contracted year for the Canadian NHL rights so we should find out sometime this year.
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Old 06-22-2006, 11:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by trevster2k


We might lose it to CTV/ TSN. Rumours abound that they want it and I can't see CBC being able to match their bid for the rights. The upcoming season is the last contracted year for the Canadian NHL rights so we should find out sometime this year.
Honestly... it just sounds like sour grapes from the 50 people in this country who prefer watching the nightly news over overtime hockey. I really find it hard to believe that people will want this change. They are tampering with Canadian culture and tradition by wanting to change the CBC. I say the better solution is to privatize it if they feel like its making too much money. But I doubt it's even making that much money if at all. Newsworld is the channel that everyone gets if they want the news or talk shows, CBC has a mix of Canadian culture. I always thought that the CRTC wanted to defend that. By the way, what IS the CRTC's position on this matter?
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Old 06-22-2006, 11:46 PM   #10
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do NOT privatize the cbc.

worst idea ever.
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Old 06-22-2006, 11:48 PM   #11
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It's a rediculous idea. We already have one TVO!
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Old 06-22-2006, 11:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Zoomerang96
do NOT privatize the cbc.

worst idea ever.
And thats because? It will ruin tradition, and will probably make it bleed money and die! And what they are proposing will do the same.
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Old 06-22-2006, 11:58 PM   #13
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If you want CBC to turn into another bland Canadian network that shows mostly American TV shows and reality television, then, by all means, privatize it.

But, as someone who thinks the vast majority of American TV shows are boring and hates reality TV, I think it would be quite a waste.

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Old 06-23-2006, 12:02 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
If you want CBC to turn into another bland Canadian network that shows mostly American TV shows and reality television, then, by all means, privatize it.

But, as someone who thinks the vast majority of American TV shows are boring and hates reality TV, I think it would be quite a waste.

Melon
My point wasn't to privatize it. I was just saying that, it's stupid to just throw away something like Hockey Night In Canada which is part of canadian tradition, and all the other proposed changes which would change the face of CBC.. which has been part of Canadian history for decades. So if they *really* wanted to change the CBC into what they want it to be, might as well just spin off and privatize CBC anyways since they want to totally change any identity that it had. (they'd be better off making a new network)

BTW as far as I know, CBC doesn't show any reality shows currently, or at least they aren't major ones. Mostly whats on CBC is Canadian TV series, Curling, CFL, Hockey, and the News.
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Old 06-23-2006, 12:03 AM   #15
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i hate reality shows, and i heard cbc is actually MOVING the nightly news to accomodate a new reality series. unbelievable.
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