A former newspaper executive with Brunswick News Inc. in western New Brunswick says the company is trying to prevent him from starting a competing title in Woodstock.
In court documents obtained by CBC News, Brunswick News alleges William Kenneth Langdon is using confidential information he obtained as one of their publishers to establish his own newspaper in direct competition with the Woodstock Bugle-Observer.
Langdon resigned on Sept. 19 after working as publisher of the Bugle-Observer for four years. He worked for Brunswick News, which is owned by J.D. Irving Ltd., for 10 years.
Federal broadcast regulators revealed anxieties over delving into journalistic standards and independence as they heard complaints from unions on Wednesday about the negative consequences of cross-media ownership. Canadian Press story on CBC.ca
-- Canada's broadcasters should be required to compete for their licences when they come up for renewal, which would make incumbent companies more accountable and ensure new players can break into the industry, regulators were told Wednesday. Grant Robertson, in the Globe and Mail, reports that a media union wants licence renewals opened to competition to bring more diversity in an era of consolidation.
In context, commercial networks argue that Canadian companies need to grow through mergers and takeovers to compete on a global stage being reshaped by the Internet. On the other side, media guilds, arts advocates and production industry groups argued that consolidation is dangerous to the diversity of broadcast voices in Canada.
-- The federal broadcasting regulator is learning quickly that if it wants to impose new rules to restrict market concentration, it will do so over the vehement opposition of the country's big media companies. The Canadian Press.
-- The debate over media consolidation in Canada is turning into a fight over who controls access to the millions of television sets across the country. Grant Robertson, the Globe and Mail.
- Should the CRTC choose to limit the growth of Canadian media companies, domestic players will be at risk of being swept away by giants such as News Corp. and Google, Quebecor Media Inc. told the broadcast regulator on Tuesday. Paul Vieira, Financial Post
Predictably, Stursberg's comments were instantly contradicted by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, which wants no new rules. Robertson's story quoted Glenn O'Farrell, president of the CAB, which represents the industry, including commercial broadcasters such as CTV, Global, TVA and others.: "We see no diversity deficit in the Canadian system.”
In Vancouver, where I live, citizens subsist largely on a commercial diet supplied by CanWest, which for years has controlled three of the four daily papers (Sun, Province, National Post), two of the main provincial television stations, most of the other dailies in the province including Victoria's Times Colonist, nearly all of the free "community" newspapers (ie, wrapping for large piles of flyers) that land on local doorsteps, and has been involved in the still-evolving transit newspapers. It's not quite a CanWest monopoly -- options include the Globe (not easily available in many outlying areas), CTV, CBC in its various forms and a handful of alternative papers and not-quite-mainstream television broadcasters -- but anyone who claims there's no diversity deficit is plain wrong, especially in British Columbia.
BTW, kudos to the Globe and Mail for consistenly reporting on this issue; there has been a deficit of reporting about it in most CanWest papers. (In the past six months the Globe has run 200 stories citing Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, compared to 76 in CanWest's National Post, which is that chain's paper of record on financial and national stories. The Toronto Star -- which is the country's largest paper but can be partly excused because it doesn't claim to be a national paper of record, ran 49 stories.) I think the failure to report on this, including failure to report without bias, is a dereliction of duty and shows why CRTC regulation is needed. Media -- specifically journalism -- is of critical public importance and the fact that it's often almost ignored as a subject by Canadian media, with a few outstanding exceptions, weakens our democracy.
"We are in the middle of a major wave of private media consolidation in this country and we are very worried about what it means for access to a diversity of made-in-Canada news and entertainment in cities and towns across the country," says Steve Anderson, coordinator of Canadians for Democratic Media. "Recent history suggests we are headed for even less local coverage and less original programming.
Below: Video short produced by Canadians for a Democratic Media:
Those who are suspicious of Murdoch’s pledges of noninterference recall what happened when he first extended his press holdings beyond his native Australia, nearly forty years ago: he persuaded the Carr family of London to sell him the sensational tabloid News of the World, and promised to run the paper in partnership with the family that had owned the paper for nearly eighty years; he abandoned this pledge after learning, he said, that to honor it would harm shareholders because the Carrs had created “a total wreck of a company.” When he bought the New York Post from Dorothy Schiff, in 1976, he publicly pledged to leave its liberal editorial stance unchanged, saying, “The New York Post will continue to serve New York and New Yorkers and maintain its present policies and traditions”—and promptly reversed course. But Murdoch’s approach may best be seen in what happened after he bought the influential and once storied Times of London and the Sunday Times, in 1981. At the time, English journalists asked their Australian-born colleague Phillip Knightley to analyze how Murdoch might behave, and as Knightley now recalls, “The point I made was that Murdoch came from a tradition very different from European and American proprietors. In Australia, a proprietor owned the paper and considered it was his to do whatever he liked with it. Proprietors used their newspapers to support or oppose political parties, settle private feuds, and cross-promote their other interests. Any idea that they could not do this would have met with bewilderment.”
It seems like everyone is wheeling and dealing in the media sector. In this section we've collected examples of these deals and explore the effects of changes in ownership. To browse through other topics of interest, visit our J-Topics section.
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