The Provincial Council for the Communications Sector (CPSC or Conseil provincial du secteur des communications) of CUPE-Quebec has filed a complaint against TVA with the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) for violating its Code of Journalistic Independence. The complaint concerns the consolidation of Sun Media Corporation newspaper operations with Groupe TVA television stations in the region, and denounces the joint management of the journalistic content of the various media outlets.
“As we stated before the CRTC at the license renewal hearings in December, our concerns about a reduction in the diversity of voices are stronger than ever. In fact, in Trois-Rivières the news director of CHEM-TV is also the publisher of two weekly newspapers recently installed on the premises of the television station. In Sherbrooke, the general manager of CHLT-TV has been replaced by the manager of the Journal de Sherbrooke and the Journal de Magog, which now heads all three media outlets,” said Richard Labelle, president of the CPSC.
Compliance with the Code of Journalistic Independence is a condition for licensing, imposed by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for TVA’s conventional television stations. The complaint states that the company is not complying with the Code, which is clearly worded to avoid the mutual influence of television and newspaper news coverage, which would compromise the diversity of information available to Quebecers.
“Unfortunately, this would explain, why CHEM-TV employees are often asked to report on the same topics as appear in one of Sun Media papers on the day of publication,” said Richard Labelle. “We are facing the risk of the standardization of information and downsizing in these regions.”
The CPSC represents 7,600 members in the communications sector, including employees at TVA stations in Montreal, Quebec City, Sherbrooke, Rimouski and Trois-Rivières.