Friday, January 22, 2010

Union wants hearings into City-TV cuts (release)

OTTAWA, Jan. 22 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada's largest media union is asking whether the silence from the CRTC about the latest shutdown of local news at CITY television stations is the result of Heritage Minister James Moore muzzling the CRTC.

"Despite Canadians' overwhelming demonstration in the past several months of the importance of local news to their daily lives, the CRTC and the Harper government have been alarmingly tight-lipped about this drastic cut in local coverage," says Peter Murdoch, Vice-President Media for CEP, Canada's largest media union.

When Rogers bought the City stations in 2007, the billion-dollar media giant told the CRTC it supported the stations' "distinctive local programming." But now, just two years later, it has slashed local newscasts and laid off employees, despite the fact that from 2008 to 2009, local advertising revenues on Rogers' television stations jumped 41% - an amazing increase in the middle of a recession.

"While the Tories absent themselves from Parliament, big lobbyists like Rogers are given free rein to duck their promises to Canadians. And it appears the CRTC, Canada's broadcast regulator, has been told to go on vacation as well."

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