Rogers, along with several other Canadian cable companies, have filed a complaint with the CRTC alleging CTV has violated the Broadcasting Act by airing one-sided and unbalanced coverage of its own advocacy campaign.
CTV has been in the middle of a massive campaign to draw attention to the crisis local television faces if cable providers aren’t forced to pay broadcasters subscriber fees.
Bell, Telus, Cogeco, Eastlink and the Canadian Cable Systems Alliance Inc. (CCSA) are among the others who joined Rogers to file the complaint on Friday.
“While we fundamentally disagree with CTV’s position on a TV tax, the issue here is not about their position, it is about a blatant violation of respected journalistic principles,” said Phil Lind, Vice Chairman, Rogers.
“The public should expect better and not be manipulated with one-sided reporting masquerading as ‘real news’. No advocacy group should be able to hijack the newscasts of Canadian broadcasters, and that is especially true when the advocacy group is the broadcaster itself.”
CTV stations across the country will be participating in “Save Local TV” events on Saturday morning, including one here in Winnipeg.
The complaint urged the CRTC to take immediate action to correct the situation and terminate these violations.
UPDATE: 3:30 p.m. — CTV has responded to Rogers’ complaint, by insisting the network has remained in full compliance with the Broadcasting Act and the CAB’s Code of Ethics throughout its “Save Local” campaign.
“Instead of coming up with solutions and being part of the discussion, today’s underhanded move by cable and satellite companies is an abuse of process designed to suppress freedom of speech and mislead the public,” said Paul Sparkes, Executive Vice-President, Corporate Affairs, CTVglobemedia.
CTV also took a jab at the satellite and cable companies joint efforts a couple years ago to combat signal theft, saying the “Save Local” campaign is consistent with those similar past practices.