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CBC Rejects Ads That Challenges Harper’s Media Muzzling–Friends

July 23, 2013

The CBC has refused to air television ads that challenge the Conservative government’s takeover of the national public broadcaster.

The ads, commissioned by the watchdog group Friends  of Canadian Broadcasting, promote Free The CBC, a campaign to oppose the Harper government’s gambit to undermine the CBC’s independence by taking direct control of the wages and working conditions of all CBC employees, including those who make the news.

Friends released the ads at a news conference in Ottawa this morning. They are available for viewing online at http://www.freethecbc.ca.

“We wanted to run these ads on The National and other CBC News programs. CBC’s refusal makes the point for us. Harper will have even more control of what’s on the air when his government takes direct control of the wages and working conditions of all CBC staff,” said Ian Morrison, Friends’ spokesperson.

The government’s latest Omnibus Budget Bill C-60, which would expose the CBC to direct political interference by the government, is now the law of the land.

“With the CBC takeover and the recent news of a military police investigation of CTV’s Ottawa bureau chief Bob Fife, Mr. Harper is behaving like the leader of China, Russia, or Cuba,” Morrison said.

The CBC takeover does not sit well with Canadians.

A new Nanos poll released by Friends this morning reveals that the vast majority reject the Harper Conservatives’ plan to undermine the CBC’s independence.

Only one-in-eight (12%) voters agree the government should control the wages and working conditions of all CBC employees, while 81% think the CBC should remain independent of the government as set out in the Broadcasting Act. This includes a majority (55%) of Conservative Party supporters.

“Mr. Harper is isolated even from his own supporters on this matter,” says Friends’ Ian Morrison, which commissioned the survey.

The Nanos national survey of 1,000 Canadians old enough to vote conducted between June 16th and 19th, also probed attitudes about CBC funding, levels of satisfaction with the CBC’s national and regional services, and issues related to Canadian content and culture. Among the survey’s findings:

*79% believe that the CBC plays an important role in protecting Canadian culture and identity.

*80% would advise their MP to maintain or increase CBC funding.

*89% believe the CBC President should not be appointed by the Prime Minister, while 87% think the Prime Minister should not appoint members of the CBC Board.

The survey also found that proposals to gut the CBC scheduled for consideration at the now-postponed Conservative Party policy convention are off-side with the vast majority of Canadians.

Among convention policy resolutions are proposals to eliminate public funding for the CBC, turn the national public broadcaster into a PBS-style user pay network and erase existing Conservative policy that recognizes the importance of the CBC.

The survey reveals scant support, and over-whelming opposition among Canadians to these ideas. Read more at Broadcaster – Canada’s Communications Magazine.

Also see: Campaign calls on Ottawa to ‘free the CBC from political interference’

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