OpenMedia.ca Tells Fox News North, "You're Not Special"
Quebecor seeks special treatment amid reports of Prime Ministerial pressure on CRTC
Today Canada's media democratization network, OpenMedia.ca, launched a campaign to encourage the public en masse to intervene in Sun TV News' license application seeking special treatment from the CRTC.
Sun TV News, now commonly called Fox News North, is asking Canada’s broadcast regulator for three years of mandatory access for its proposed service. This means that all cable and satellite systems will be forced to carry the channel. No other digital channels of this type have this business guarantee. But Sun TV News says that it needs this access or its channel will not succeed.
This application comes in spite of the CRTC’s ruling that it will not accept applications for specialty services to be given these access rights until October 2011, and will also not accept any applications for specialty services to be given mandatory basic carriage until June 2012.
Canadians are encouraged to send their comments through OpenMedia.ca in order to ensure that they will become part of the public record. They can do so here: http://openmedia.ca/NotSpecial
Quebecor's VP of Development, Kory Teneycke, is Prime Minister Steven Harper's former Director of Communications, and Sun TV News has been promoted as a conservative voice for Canada.
Though the Prime Minister's office denies throwing its weight behind Sun TV News, recent reports indicate that pressure has already been put on Commission Chair Konrad von Finckenstein to resign before his term ends in 2012. At the same time former CRTC Vice-Chair Michel Arpin's request to renew his term was denied.
This suggests that the political pressure is being brought to bear on the CRTC to grant this license and special treatment.
"The best way to stop political interference and special treatment for Fox News North," said Steve Anderson, National Coordinator of OpenMedia.ca, "is for citizens to ensure their voices are heard during this proceeding. Someone must have unwisely told Teneycke and Quebecor that they deserve special privileges. We should all use the CRTC's process to let them both know, you're not special"
According to Quebecor itself, the station will not be able to launch without mandatory access for all cable and satellite TV distributors - its over-the-air Sun TV channel in Toronto currently has a deficit of $50.3 million.
The CRTC's public hearing on Sun TV News is set to take place on November 19, 2010, in Gatineau, Quebec. Canadians have until October 1st 2010 to get on the public record.
National Coordinator, OpenMedia.ca
Communications Manager, OpenMedia.ca