Monday, July 22, 2013

..... but they will on CyberSmokeBlog!

'Free the CBC' ads won't air on public broadcaster
By Andrea Hill, Postmedia News
Monday, July 22, 2013
(Photograph by: Postmedia News/Files, Postmedia News)

OTTAWA — A new ad campaign to “Free the CBC” from political interference will not air on the public broadcaster’s programs, say representatives from the non-profit media watchdog group that created the commercials.

“I’m a little surprised and disappointed that they wouldn’t take our money for the ads,” said Friends of Canadian Broadcasting spokesperson Ian Morrison. “It proves our point a little bit about the nature of the problem.”

The television ads show a man demanding that Prime Minister Stephen Harper respond to criticisms that he has “taken control” of the CBC and “undermined” the arms-length relationship between the government and public broadcaster. The man is then surrounded by security guards who deposit him in the trunk of a car while a narrator implores the audience to support a Free the CBC campaign.

The campaign takes aim at omnibus budget legislation Bill C-60, which passed in June. A section of that bill allows government to sit in on the collective bargaining negotiations of Crown corporations, including the CBC. Journalistic groups such as Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and the Canadian Media Guild have publicly criticized the legislation, saying that the CBC’s editorial decisions will be compromised if government controls its labour conditions.

Friends of Canadian Broadcasting submitted the commercials to CBC earlier this month, but was told the broadcaster would not run them because of a need to “maintain its neutrality,” according to email correspondence distributed by the media watchdog. CBC’s French counterpart SRC also refused to run the ads. Both English and French commercials had been approved by the Television Bureau of Canada’s Telecaster service which screens advertisements for appropriateness and good taste.

Despite being passed over by the CBC, the ads are still being aired and will make their online debut Monday through the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting website as part of a social media campaign that will continue until the 2015 federal election. Morrison said his group may eventually look into airing the commercials through private broadcasters CTV and French-language TVA.

“CBC is supposed to be independent from the government of Canada,” Morrison said. “We believe that if enough Canadians become aware of this issue that will put some pressure on the government to reconsider (the provisions of Bill C-60).”

Morrison adds that results from a recent Nanos poll – also released Monday – show that Canadians care about the CBC and its independence from government. In an online survey of 1,000 Canadians, respondents were asked about their views on government’s intentions to “take direct control of the wages and working conditions of all CBC employees.” The majority — 81 per cent — said the CBC should remain independent from government while 12 per cent said they agreed with the government’s intentions. The remaining respondents were unsure where they stood on the issue.

Also among survey data were the findings that eight in 10 respondents felt the CBC plays a very or somewhat important role in protecting Canadian culture and that 39 per cent wanted more federal dollars to flow into the CBC.

Friends of Canadian Broadcasting is a non-profit group that operates as a watchdog for the country’s audio-visual programming.


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