Leaders from CUPE Québec will go before Canada’s communications regulators to warn of the dangers media convergence poses for democracy.
The “Diversity of Voices” hearings are looking into the effects of media amalgamation and concentration of ownership.
“The scene is becoming increasingly grim,” said Jean Chabot, president of CUPE Québec’s communications sector council. “We’re seeing more and more large conglomerates controlling the market, the flow of information and distribution of product - whether these ‘products’ are newscasts, entertainment, books or even personalities.”
“The pace and the extent of convergence in Canada is unequalled in the industrialized world,” Chabot said. “In France or the US it would be impossible for one corporation to own as much of the media in a single market as they do here.”
“In Canada, everything is permitted and it’s the market that trumps the public interest.”
CUPE argues [french original, english below] that the CRTC must make up for lost time - modernize its regulations, enforce them and act to prevent further reduction in the number of media voices.
Nowhere are perils of convergence more apparent than with Quebecor Média where management has been using content from other markets and other media to fill the pages of le Journal de Québec whose employees have been locked out since April, 2007.
Meanwhile Quebecor is demanding the right to turn all its content - whether TV, radio or print - into a single stream to be reproduced across all media without regard for local programming, quality or anything other than the bottom line.