CBC rejects ads that challenge Harper’s media muzzling

Jul 22, 2013

Nanos poll reveals CBC takeover is offside with Canadians

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ottawa  - 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 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.

Chart

"Prime Minister Harper is already off-side with a huge majority of Canadians who value public broadcasting.  Supporting rogue policies to destroy the CBC would isolate Mr. Harper's Conservatives even further from most voters," Morrison concluded. 

Survey participants were randomly recruited by telephone through the proprietary Nanos Crowdsource sample and administered a survey online. The margin of error for a random survey of 1,000 Canadians is ±3.1%, 19 times out of 20, and the results were weighted to reflect Canada's population.

FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting is an independent watchdog for Canadian programming and is not affiliated with any broadcaster or political party. 

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For information: Jim Thompson 613-447-9592; jim@friends.ca

The complete survey report is available at www.friends.ca.


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Related Documents:

Jul 22, 2013 — Speech: 'Free the CBC' campaign press conference
Remarks by Ian Morrison, FRIENDS' spokesperson in a press conference on Parliament Hill launching new ads challenging Stephen Harper's hostile takeover bid for the CBC, and his government's effort to intimidate journalists.

Jul 22, 2013 — Opinion Poll: Canadians on the CBC by Nanos Research
New opinion research shows Canadians from across the political spectrum value the CBC, give it good marks for meeting its mandate and think it plays an important role in Canada.