CBC/Radio-Canada commends Committee for efforts to tackle the challenges facing Canadians in local news

June 15, 2017, Ottawa

CBC/Radio-Canada commends the Members of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage for their efforts to tackle the challenges facing news in local communities. As Canada’s public broadcaster we know how much Canadians care about what’s going on in their communities, and how the digital revolution and media concentration is undermining traditional sources of news.

We believe these changes make public broadcasting more important than ever, and we agree with the Committee’s view that “CBC/Radio-Canada plays a vital role in disseminating Canadian content to the public across its various platforms.” That is why our priority continues to be more digital, more local and more ambitious in our Canadian programming; to be the public space at the heart of Canadian conversations and experiences.

It has meant transforming the way we serve Canadians but it is now clear that our digital shift was the right thing to do. Today, we are in 49 communities across the country. We have continuous contact with Canadians with almost 17 million digital users coming to our sites each month. This puts us well on our way to our target of 18 million by 2020. Canadians now depend on digital which is why we support the Committee’s call for improved affordable broadband Internet access across Canada and particularly in the North.

We believe there is more to be done. In our recent proposal, A Creative Canada, we recommend the government develop a cohesive creative sector investment strategy and provide funding to enable CBC/Radio-Canada to remove advertising from ALL of its platforms. That would allow us to focus on our public service mandate and become a better supporter of Canadian culture. Removing advertising from one platform is a half measure that would weaken our ability to sustain our programs and services. It doesn’t provide any of the advantages of being completely ad-free, and, because TV and digital advertising is often sold together, it undermines our remaining commercial revenue. For this reason we cannot support the Committee’s recommendation that CBC/Radio-Canada remove advertising from just its digital platforms.

We share the Committee’s, and Canadians’ concerns about trust and accuracy in an era of “fake news”. We firmly believe that the antidote to fake news is real news: news Canadians can trust. That’s what CBC/Radio-Canada journalists provide. They are guided by our Journalistic Standards and Practices, and we have two independent Ombudsmen to investigate complaints. When Canadians go to a CBC/Radio-Canada website they know that the material there meets our standards for journalism, balance and accuracy.

We will continue to make sure that Canadians can get the news and information they need about their world and their community. We are proud that CBC/Radio-Canada remains the most influential and trusted media brand in Canada and we will repay that trust in the work we do every day.

About CBC/Radio-Canada

CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada’s national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. We are Canada’s trusted source of news, information and Canadian entertainment. Deeply rooted in communities all across the country, CBC/Radio-Canada offers diverse content in English, French and eight Indigenous languages. We also provide international news and information from a uniquely Canadian perspective.

Follow us on Twitter: @CBCRadioCanada

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