Media Advisory: Bell plays hardball with Canadians, asks Cabinet to change broadcasting rules after public interest decision

WHO:
Steve Anderson, Executive Director, OpenMedia.ca
Lindsey Pinto, Communications Manager, OpenMedia.ca
Janet Lo, Legal Counsel, Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)
John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel, PIAC

WHAT:
Telecom giant Bell is trying to unilaterally change Canada’s broadcasting rules so it can take over Astral Media, one of Canada’s largest media companies. Bell has officially called on Cabinet to put forward a Broadcast Policy Direction that could force the CRTC to reconsider its recent, widely popular decision to block Bell’s takeover.

OpenMedia.ca is encouraging Canadians to call for their MPs and members of Cabinet to oppose this expansion of Bell's power at http://StopTheTakeover.ca.

WHY:
Canadians have been speaking out against Bell’s takeover, and the CRTC blocked the deal because it was not in the public interest – but now, Bell is trying to get the government to intervene. Bell is rewriting the rules, and asking the government to rubber-stamp it.

“Citizens, not industry lobbyists should guide the future of our communications system,” says OpenMedia.ca Executive Director Steve Anderson. “Bell’s move to change our country’s media rules is a slap in the face to Canadians.”

WHEN / WHERE:
Spokespeople from OpenMedia.ca and PIAC are available to comment at any time.

BACKGROUND:

OpenMedia.ca is a grassroots organization that safeguards the possibilities of the open and affordable Internet. The group works towards informed and participatory digital policy.

OpenMedia.ca and PIAC are members of the Stop the Takeover Coalition. The Coalition comprises public interest groups and industry players who are coming together, based on a set of common principles, to oppose the proposed takeover of Astral Media by Bell and to promote public engagement through the Stop the Takeover campaign.

For more information, please contact:

Lindsey Pinto – 778.238.7710 – lindsey@openmedia.ca
John Lawford – 613.447.8125 – lawford@piac.ca

Details can also be found at http://StopTheTakeover.ca.