Senate Comes to Scrutinize Big Media in BC
Senate Comes to Scrutinize Big Media in BC What's it like to live in Canada's media concentration capital? Just fine, a senate committee has already been told. They'll hear other views next week.
Vancouver is Canada's most concentrated capital and arguably, North America's most media concentrated city. According to the Donald Gutstein who wrote in theTyee.ca,
CanWest Global accounts for 28.5 percent of total daily newspaper circulation in Canada. For Vancouver dailies it is 100 percent – the Sun and Province. Factor in the national papers, the National Post (also owned by CanWest) and the Globe and Mail (owned by Bell Globemedia), which have little local news, and CanWest still accounts for over 90 percent of daily circulation.
Television news seems less concentrated. Nationally, CanWest holds a 14.7 percent viewing share, compared to 19.2 percent for Bell Globemedia's CTV. But in the all-important 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. supper newscast slot, CanWest holds a commanding 70 percent viewing share, with its Early News, National News and News Hour.
One hundred percent of daily newspaper readers, 70 percent of supper news viewers. Add CanWest's chain of 12 community papers which blanket the Lower Mainland and you have a news hegemony unrivalled in Canadian history.
And it's all controlled by one Winnipeg family, with 89 percent of the company.
Senate committee hearings have already been conducted and so far, the big media corporations have attempted to downplay the hearings and to garner support from academics and other allies to convince the Senate that so far it is fine. Of course, being that the minority government in power in Canada is the Conservative Party, there is of course not much chance of the Senate proposing sweeping changes to media concentration is there.
It is in my opinion that Vancouver, and Canada for that matter should learn to democratize media. The media corporations all like to convince us that the more media concentration and the bigger they become, they can offer more channels, more points of view. Any person can see however instead, there are cutbacks instead and less diverse points of view offered. In fact, duplicate channels and programs are eliminated and therefore impacting the jobs of those media professionals.
I say it is time for us to have a democratic media that is for the people, rather than the corporations share price and profits.