Re: “Time to Make the CBC fight fair; The problem with the Mother Corp’s Digital Push”; by James Cowan, www.canadianbusiness.com; Tuesday, May 14, 2013
I read with interest James Cowan’s piece on CBC/Radio-Canada’s digital presence and was disappointed in his analysis of the public broadcaster’s impact on the media landscape. Though well presented, the argument is based on too–narrow an interpretation of the public broadcaster’s place in our national fabric.
Mr. Cowan is correct in stating that our role is, in part, to do what private broadcasters cannot. In a country as large, diverse and sparsely settled as Canada, there is simply no business case to support a national, multi-lingual, multimedia network dedicated to sharing the Canadian experience. However, our public broadcaster is needed not just to fill the vacuum left behind by private enterprise, but rather to contribute to the creation of a shared national consciousness and identity.
In our quest to inform, enlighten and entertain we have a responsibility to hold a mirror to the nation and to reflect that image to as many Canadians as possible, regardless of where they live, what language they speak and how long they’ve been here. Our current strategic plan, Strategy 2015: Everyone. Every Way. has put us on a path to become more Canadian, more regional and more digital. These goals are not rooted in a desire to interfere with the media landscape, but rather in recognition of our role as a nation connector.
When CBC/Radio-Canada plants new roots in a city or region it does more than establish a local presence; it connects communities to one another. And when it establishes a new digital offering, it connects an emerging Canadian artist with a new fan base, shines a light on a neighbourhood and makes unique Canadian content available on a long commute.
Canada’s public broadcaster is changing, that’s true. But in that change, we are becoming more accessible, more connected and more true to our purpose. We think that’s a good thing.
W. B. Chambers, Vice-President, Brand, Communications, Corporate Affairs, CBC/Radio-Canada