Canadian Media Guild

Canadian Media Guild

March 22, 2005 11:09 ET

Groups urge Minister to save TVOntario programmes

Open letter to Minister Mary Anne Chambers Attention: Arts/Entertainment Editor, Books Editor, Media Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - March 22, 2005) - Dear Minister :

Franco-Ontarians are being robbed of their only dedicated source of news and information on the Ontario legislature with the decision to pull Tfo's Queen's Park correspondent. This is only one of the short-sighted decisions made recently about operations at TVOntario.

The end result is that Ontario residents will see fewer made-in-Ontario programmes on this valuable provincial broadcaster.

Queen's Park coverage on Tfo's Panorama has been key to changing policy affecting the lives of Franco-Ontarians, including reversing the planned closure of the Collège d'Alfred, an agricultural college in Eastern Ontario, five years ago.

This latest cut to Panorama is added to the many cutbacks the show has suffered over the past decade, reducing its complement of permanent reporters from more than a dozen to just four. There is no other current affairs programme on television focused on the interests of Franco-Ontarians.

Imprint, the long-running, pioneering book show is being cancelled. The same fate awaits Second Opinion, a more recent addition to the TVO schedule. Are either of these shows being replaced by similarly innovative, made-in-Ontario programming on TVO? No.

Imprint generates much-needed revenue for TVOntario through sales to other networks and is used in college and university courses. It has also played an important role in supporting the fragile local publishing industry, giving a boost to sales of books featured on the show.

Studio 2, TVO's current affairs show, will lose its unique documentary unit focusing on in-depth reporting from small towns. This kind of coverage has set TVO apart from commercial stations that do not report consistently from small towns and rural areas.

The latest cuts at TVOntario come when the broadcaster has seen an unprecedented increase in memberships. In the last year alone, membership has increased by more than 10 per cent to over 100,000 members. This figure actually represents many more people, given that so many memberships cover entire households. It makes no sense to treat new TVOntario members to less service.

We believe that TVOntario must continue to:
• tell stories that commercial television ignores
• keep Ontarians informed of issues particularly relevant to them
• reflect Ontario's rich and varied cultural communities
• be a broadcast innovator.

We urge you to restore funding dedicated to broadcasting to a level that allows the continuation of made-in-Ontario programmes that serve the needs of our diverse population.

Yours sincerely,

Lise Lareau, National President, Canadian Media Guild, Tel : 416-591-5333
Arthur Lewis, Executive Director, Our Public Airwaves, Tel : 613-237-3555
Louise Dennys, Executive Publisher, Knopf Canada, Random House Canada, Vintage Canada and Executive Vice-President and Chair of the Group Publishing Board, Random House of Canada Limited, Tel: 416-957-1555
Daniel Richler
IN: ENTERTAINMENT, MEDIA, POLITICS

Contact Information

  • Karen Wirsig, Communications Coordinator, Canadian Media Guild
    Primary Phone: 416-591-5333 ext. 243
    Secondary Phone: 416-578-1651
    Toll-Free: 800-465-4149
    E-mail: karen@cmg.ca