TORONTO–The news of layoffs and restructuring at Global News this week chips away at already barebones newsrooms and puts democracy at risk as the number of media workers dwindles in the industry, says Unifor.
“It is becoming impossibly difficult for media workers to face the news of restructuring and layoffs on a regular basis,” said Lana Payne, Unifor National President. “Journalists are the backbone of our democracy. We need to save local news by investing in newsrooms – not cutting them. We will continue to support our members during this devastating time.”
The Corus Entertainment cuts impact online journalists and online video journalists. Global has also decimated its award-winning sports department in Edmonton, the only local television sports coverage in the city.
Unifor has over 800 media members at Corus as part of Local M1 across the country.
The union has been part of an active campaign to ensure the Broadcasting Act mandates the Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC) to support local news, including by “developing, financing, producing or promoting local news and information programming,” with the creation of a news fund.
“We need to save local news,” says Randy Kitt, Unifor’s Director of Media. “The CRTC has allowed foreign broadcasters to systematically dismantle the business model for local news in this country and Bill C-11, as much as its needed and should be expanded, doesn’t address this problem.”
Bill C-11 is supposed to modernize the Broadcast Act to bring foreign internet streamers (such as Netflix) into Canada’s regulatory system. If foreign streamers are now allowed to compete directly with Canadian broadcasters, they should have the same responsibilities as Canadian broadcasters to support the telling of Canadian stories that should include local news.
Unifor represents more than 10,000 media workers, including journalists in the broadcast and print news industry.