Nanos Poll: Feds should protect local news and CBC’s independence

Jun 12, 2017

For immediate release 

Toronto – A new Nanos poll released this morning reveals Canadians place high value on local news, are concerned about the decline of journalism in Canada and want the federal government to actively support local news.

These findings emerge on the eve of the publication of a parliamentary study on the future of local media.

“Canadians want to see action from the federal government to address the decline in local media,” said Ian Morrison, spokesperson for the watchdog group Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, which commissioned the research.

Seven-in-ten (70%) agree their MP should work to keep local broadcasting strong, while more than half (54%) think the federal government should be active in supporting local news.  Only one-third (32%) think the fate of local news in Canada should be left to the market to decide.

Agreement is widespread (74% agree and 15% somewhat agree) that local TV news is valuable, and concern about the decline in the ranks of journalists is broad (46% care and 35% somewhat care that there are far fewer working journalists creating quality news).

Only one third (34%) think the loss of journalism jobs is the inevitable result of technological change while six-in-ten (58%) think the federal government should take steps to address this decline because quality journalism is important for Canadian democracy.

These views may be held because Canadians place so little trust in online sources of news.

CBC/Radio-Canada is most trusted by Canadians to protect Canadian culture and identity on television, while Netflix and other internet broadcasters get the lowest trust rating.

“The government has yet to act on its 2015 campaign promise to reform the process of appointing CBC Directors and the President to ensure they are independent and selected on a merit basis, but assuming they keep their commitment, it will be extremely popular,” said Friends spokesperson Ian Morrison.

Canadians are almost unanimous (80% agree and 15% somewhat agree) in their agreement with the following statement made by then Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau on April 15, 2015, about the need to end the appointment of CBC Directors by political patronage:

“We have to make sure that the board appointees of the CBC are picked in a non-partisan transparent, open way by people who have the interests of the CBC and Radio-Canada and the interests of the Canadian public top of mind. Not the narrow partisan interests of one political party or another…”

The investment Canadians make in the CBC is broadly supported, with 82% believing that CBC funding should be increased (43%) or maintained at current levels (39%).  Only 14% think CBC funding should be decreased from current levels.

Half (49%) of Canadians think CBC should continue to rely on advertising to fund its programming operations; one-in-three (36%) think CBC funding should be increased and ads eliminated, while 10% think CBC funding should be frozen and ads eliminated.

Nanos conducted an RDD dual frame (land- and cell-lines) hybrid telephone and online random survey of 1,000 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, between May 12th to 16th, 2017 as part of an omnibus survey. Participants were randomly recruited by telephone using live agents and administered a survey online. The results were statistically checked and weighted by age and gender using the latest Census information, and the sample is geographically stratified to be representative of Canada.

The margin of error for a random survey of 1,000 Canadians is ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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


The full Nanos report is available here.

For information:

Jim Thompson
[email protected]