REBUILD
COMMUNITY
MEDIA

Rebuild
Community
Media

Local journalism in Canada is being eroded by corporate interests

Canada’s rural areas, mid-sized cities and towns are becoming “news deserts” at an alarming rate.

Since 2008, over 250 local media outlets have closed. Many more have been bought up by hedge-fund backed conglomerates. Google and Facebook ad revenues skyrocket while community TV stations, radio stations, and newspapers close their doors across Canada.

As a result: trust in Canada’s media hit an all-time low in 2021, and diversity has taken a hit.

Where cuts hit hardest, we see the greatest rise of support for the radical agenda of the “People’s Party”—anti-immigrant, anti-vaccine—and the lowest trust in institutions.

News deserts attract scorpions, snakes and vultures as toxic social media channels and conspiracy theories fill the void left behind.

Community
media can
rebuild trust

Community
media can
rebuild trust

Democratic local media boosts civic engagement, but regulatory capture of the CRTC is standing in the way

Covering LGBT issues in the early 90s. Broadcasting town and band council meetings. Providing high schoolers with a venue to discuss life during COVID. Broadcasting in Indigenous languages. Promoting local businesses struggling during a pandemic.

Across Canada, community TV stations meet the needs of their communities in innovative ways. They create jobs, facilitate local solutions to serious issues, build media literacy, foster talent and provide skills training.

In the 70s and 80s, community TV thrived with over 300 stations. In the 90s, cable companies—though more profitable than ever—began closing volunteer supported studios and consolidating their resources in the same big cities already served by the private and public sectors. The door was shut on meaningful citizen involvement.

Today, despite enormous profits, they redirect the majority of Canada’s budget for “community TV” to their own failing private news stations.

Cable
Giants
Can Pay

Cable
Giants
Can Pay

Community TV funding is built into our current system—but we need oversight to ensure companies hand over what they’re withholding

In the early days of cable, providers were mandated to provide at least one channel for community content, a studio to create this content, and 10% of their revenues (later whittled down to 5% before it was not required at all) to support community TV production. These served as spaces for training in media production, and helped many media professionals in Canada get their foot in the door of this competitive industry. 

In the early years there were over 200 Canadian cable company owners—with close ties to their communities—and over 300 community TV stations. 

The 1990s saw the conglomeration of cable companies. 200 companies became five (Videotron, Shaw, Rogers, Eastlink, & Cogeco). The regional giants bought cable systems and slowly closed the majority of production facilities. 

Instead, they paid themselves to produce that content.

A once-in-a-generation chance to
close these loopholes

Parliament has a chance to define community media in the Broadcasting Act and restore the funding

It all comes down to the lack of a definition. Because there’s no clarity in
legislation, the CRTC and its close ties to industry carry the day.

We need Members of Parliament to give the CRTC a strong mandate and a
clear definition: Community media is local, democratic and not for profit.

Let’s reclaim the media landscape from the news deserts.

Sign the
petition

Sign the
petitiion

#RebuildCommunityMedia

To Minister Rodriguez:

Give the CRTC a strong mandate by defining community media as not-for-profit, democratic and local.

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TAKE
ACTION

TAKE
ACTION

Here’s our toolkit for organizing a delegation to visit your Member of Parliament.

Are you a member of an organization that could support this campaign? Join here.

The campaign was initiated by CUTV,  FedeTCA & CACTUS, with support from a growing network.

For more information: info@rebuildcommunitymedia.ca