Ban Media Convergence, Make Papers Independent
Kent, Tom, Canadian Speeches
The 1971 call for a ban against corporate ownership of both newspaper and broadcast media is sounded again. And a trust arrangement is proposed to make each newspaper in a chain editorially independent and "democratic." Cross-ownership is called a "a combination against the public interest" that "limits the role and scope of information that reaches the public" and is said to be "contrary to democracy." Excerpts from evidence to the Senate Committee on Transport and Communications, Ottawa, April 29, 2003.
Generally, and particularly in most Canadian situations, we must recognize that attracting the readers, viewers and listeners sought by the advertisers is not closely dependent on the breadth, insight and balance of the information and comment on public affairs.
Fortunately, crass economics can be offset by a sense of responsibility, as well as by the prestige and influence that come with media ownership. While there was predominantly local ownership, family traditions with concern for the quality of journalism could and did develop in many cases. It is important that, in the first chain development in Canada by the original Southam papers, that spirit was maintained. The consequence was, for a while, more public complacency about concentration than one Senate inquiry could shake.
The reality shock came only with the newspaper upheaval of 1980, which resulted in a royal commission being required to articulate a little bit of obvious economics. Those obvious economics are that, apart from The Globe and Mail …
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Publication information: Article title: Ban Media Convergence, Make Papers Independent. Contributors: Kent, Tom - Author. Magazine title: Canadian Speeches. Volume: 17. Issue: 2 Publication date: May-June 2003. Page number: 24+. © 1998 Canadian Speeches. COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group.
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