Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Canadian Labour Congress is presently holding its national convention in Toronto, and one of the subjects being discussed is the increasing corporate concentration in the media. Here's the statement of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) on the subject.

Canada’s major unions defending information
Toronto –
“The quality of information is threatened across the country and journalists are about to become an endangered species.” This is the opinion expressed by CUPE at the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) convention in Toronto. “The convergence of media and the perfunctory closure of newsrooms constitute a serious threat to the diversity of voices of information, and as a result, to the vitality of our democratic debate,” said Michel Bibeault, assistant director of CUPE-Québec.“ We are witnessing an accelerated decline in the plurality of sources of information, a phenomenon that can be seen everywhere, but that is felt especially in the outlying regions that are losing their local news. It is high time for the Harper government to change its political position, defend the public interest, and put pressure on the CRTC to maintain the newsrooms in radio and television stations serving a general audience.”

CUPE believes that the situation is particularly troubling in Québec, given the announced closure of the TQS newsrooms and the CHRC newsroom in Québec City, and cutbacks at Global TV, TVA-Québec and The Gazette, not to mention the lockout at the Journal de Québec that has been going on for over a year. “While our planet is becoming smaller and, at the same time, increasingly complex, large conglomerates control the bulk of our information, creating little news but continually broadcasting the same information on a variety of platforms. Does this serve the interests of our citizens? Does this allow us to know what is happening in our communities? Does this enable us to make enlightened choices? Definitely not. We are on a slippery slope, and the major Canadian unions are reacting before it is too late,” added Michel Bibeault.

1 comment:

ann arky said...

I believe this needsd as much poblicity as possible, perhaps you could help.

Press Release for immediate use 19/05/2008:
Hunger Strike by Belfast airport workers is the direct responsibility of Tony Woodley, the Unite joint general secretary.
Support from Ricky Tomlinson and Jimmy McGovern
For the last five days, T&G shop steward and ex-airport worker Gordon McNeill has been on a hunger and liquid strike on the roof of the T&G headquarters in Belfast. Gordon’s condition is now critical and he will die unless the T&G leadership acts now to stop this tragedy.
The protest is a result of the union’s past collaboration with the ICTS management at Belfast airport, which resulted in four shop stewards and 20 other workers being unfairly dismissed.
Last September, a Belfast employment tribunal ruled that these workers were unfairly sacked and blamed both the management and the local T&G official for bringing this about. The huge legal costs amounting to over £200,000 have been loaded on the shoulders of the four shop stewards whilst the union refused any responsibility. The tribunal ordered ICTS to pay damages, also over £200,000, but this sum has been frozen pending an appeal to the High Court by ICTS.
Because of these legal obstacles, the shop stewards are facing eviction from their homes and hugely indebted. The solicitors who acted for the workers have said they cannot act any further without these costs being met. A number of issues are involved but as a sign of good intent, the shop stewards have said that if the union pays off the outstanding legal fees, they will call off the protest.
Unfortunately, the shop stewards feel that they cannot trust the union without this concrete gesture. On four separate occasions, the union promised to settle but all of these promises have been reneged upon.
This is an extremely serious situation. Gordon has left instructions that if he is taken to hospital, he will refuse treatment as his human right. That would end in his death.
Ricky Tomlinson has said: “I have been on hunger strike myself and can fully sympathise with these workers.”
Playwright, Jimmy McGovern sent this message earlier:
“Remember the way the TGWU betrayed Liverpool's dockers? I bet you thought no union could ever sink so low again. I did too. We were wrong. The way in which Unite has treated the Belfast Airport workers is a disgrace. Unite's leaders should hang their heads in shame."