CMG lauds review of CBC licence renewal ruling with emphasis on local news

2022.09.29 | CWA Canada Local 30213 - Canadian Media Guild

CBC/Radio-Canada building

The CWA Canada Local that represents most of the workers at the CBC is hailing a decision by the federal cabinet to grant its appeal and send a licence renewal decision back to the broadcast regulator for reconsideration.

The Canadian Media Guild (CMG) said it was pleased that the Governor in Council has heard its concerns about CBC/Radio-Canada’s obligations to provide quality local news to Canadians across the country no matter where they live, on the platforms they access.

The decision in late June by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to renew the public broadcaster’s licences for five years, with minimal conditions, was widely criticized and resulted in a flood of petitions to cabinet. The CMG said it feared the CBC would cut back on television news programming in favour of spending on online content.

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, responding to the appeals of many concerned Canadians, recommended the order in council that refers the matter back to the CRTC.

“We are grateful that the order specifically states ‘that it is material to the reconsideration and hearing that the Commission consider how to ensure that, as the national public broadcaster, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation continue to make a significant contribution to the creation, presentation, and dissemination of local news’,” said CBC Branch President Kim Trynacity. “The watering down of the CBC’s obligations to provide news and information, and the multiple impacts of that decision on service to the public including to Canadians living in metropolitan centres, on quality news at CBC overall, and on jobs, were at the heart of our petition to the Governor in Council.”

However, Trynacity said she is disappointed the order does not mention Tandem — the CBC’s ‘branded content’ initiative — another concern raised in CMG’s appeal.

CMG President Carmel Smyth said she hopes the review of the licence ruling will result in a strengthening of CBC/Radio-Canada’s news services, which have a central role in the country’s media ecosystem.

“In our appeal, we emphasized the importance of CBC’s obligations to provide local news to the public in all communities, large or small, and we appreciate that the CRTC decision will be reviewed as it significantly weakened that service,” Smyth said.

Smyth added that “CMG looks forward to being part of the new process, both to advocate for quality news in all communities and all platforms, and to re-affirm our support for the significant progress the CRTC made in … terms of diversity and inclusion requirements within CBC/Radio-Canada workforce and programming.”

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