A broad range of Canada’s multicultural communities has backed a call to the CRTC to hold public hearings on OMNI TV’s cuts to multicultural programming.
“The multicultural protections guaranteed by the Broadcasting Act oblige the CRTC to act. Rogers’ cuts to its five OMNI stations have affected news programs and others in Greek, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Tamil, Ukrainian, Cantonese, Mandarin and Punjabi,” says Peter Murdoch, Vice-President Media for the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, Canada’s Media Union.
“That so many organizations representing millions of Canadians have intervened sends a clear message to the CRTC that the cuts have been devastating. Canada’s broadcast industry cannot simply give up on accommodating diversity and it is up the CRTC to assure that it doesn’t.”
“Rogers lobbied hard to get the OMNI licences and promised to serve multicultural communities with original local news in different languages. It now wants to renege.
“Rogers has admitted that it cut multicultural programs because the English-language programs it runs as ‘bookends’ for its multicultural programs are not as successful as they hoped. It beggars belief that multicultural communities should lose their local news in their languages to support less lucrative US sitcoms,” said Murdoch.
The organizations that have supported CEP’s request to the CRTC to hold a public hearing include the Urban Diversity Forum led by former CRTC Commissioner Andrew Cardozzo, the Canadian Ethnic Media Association, The National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada along with national organizations representing Canadians with Chinese, Italian, Polish, Southeast Asian and Tamil backgrounds.
“These Canadians need to know that the CRTC is there in their interest and not simply a commission dedicated to protecting the interests of large media corporations like Rogers.”
The union expects the CRTC may make a decision within a month.