Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Another of my fights with the CRTC

Well, this time it's not really a fight with CRTC, but a fight I am bringing to the CRTC. This time my fight is with the giant Quebecor, which is trying to pen yet another TV channel, to be called Sun TV News, and wants this TV channel to be granted "mandatory access". That is, Quebecor wants to make the carrying of its channel by cable operators to be mandatory, which will guarantee a healthy stream of income for the new channel immediately and force all Canadians to have access to it.

My reasoning is this: don't force the channel to be mandatory and give it the gift of assured income; instead let the channel have to prove itself to its viewers/consumers, and have to fight in order to get paying cable viewers. Don't give everything to Quebec already served on a plate, they are already big and powerful enough, force them to work hard, produce a good product with good content and win the hearts of paying viewers.

Here is my letter, that I am about to fax to the CRTC:

Dear Commissioners,

1. I, XXXXXXX, of XXXXXXX, am writing you today to express my opposition to Application 2010-1188-2, filed by TVA Group Inc, requesting the “for a broadcasting license to operate a national, English-language Category 2 specialty television programming undertaking to be known as Sun TV News.” (taken from Application 2010-1188-2 text). I do not want to appear at the public hearing.

2. My opposition to Application 2010-1188-2, is not an opposition to the actual existence of a specialty television channel known as Sun TV News, but an opposition with the following request: “the applicant is seeking an exception to Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2009-562 by applying for mandatory access.” (taken from Application 2010-1188-2 text).

3. My opposition to Application 2010-1188-2 because of its demand to be exempt from Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2009-562 has two causes.

4. First, as an owner of independent Internet media (xxxxxxxxxxx), I am deeply concerned with the extent of media ownership concentration in the hands of a single corporation, Quebecor Media Inc, which will through its two subsidiaries, TVA Group Inc. and Sun Media Corporation, have full ownership of Sun TV News.

5. Today, Quebecor Media Inc is owner of some of the largest media outlets in Canada, which in itself is an acceptable reality, but the problem stems from the fact that these media cover the entire spectrum of media, from TV, to print, radio and finally the Internet. To add to this media concentration, Quebecor Inc. (the owner of Quebec Media Inc.) also owns Videotron Inc. which is the actual channel of distribution of their TV and Internet properties.

6. Furthermore, Quebecor Inc. does not hesitate to use its different media properties and the distribution channel that Videotron is, to perform aggressive cross-promotion of their products.

7. This behavior and the extent of the reach of Quebecor’s media outlets is a big concern for independent small media operators like me. Instead of fostering competition and free market, the concentration of media in the hands of Quebecor Inc. acts as a damper and break to the healthy development of media in Canada.

8. Therefore, considering the powerful position already enjoyed by the media and distribution outlets (Videotron Inc) owned by Quebecor Inc, I believe that obtaining “mandatory access” for Sun TV News would be an unacceptable “gift” (for a lack of better word) made to Quebecor Inc. Sun TV News should be forced to compete for viewership and membership and not be given a free ride into existence.

9. The second cause for my opposition to Application 2010-1188-2 comes from observations I have made as a local TV viewer in the Province of Quebec. LCN is an all news specialty channel owned by TVA Group Inc, and I must voice my strong concern about the quality of the content of LCN. LCN lack the depth, quality of coverage and even journalistic standards that an all-news channel should have. If LCN is to be used as an example of the kind of news-media products provided by TVA Group, I believe that the new Sun TV News, if it also lacks quality and journalistic standard, should not be granted “mandatory access”.

10. News media is very important as it shapes the world views and opinions of our people, and eventually the future direction of nation and the world our children would live in. News media should be held to the highest level of journalistic integrity possible. This is not the case today with LCN (and many other news sources) and if this is not the case with the future Sun TV News, then that channel does not in any way deserve the privilege that “mandatory access” really is.

Sincerely yours

XXXXX XXXXXXX

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