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Feds must take action on Postmedia monopoly

OTTAWA (Jan. 19, 2016) – CWA Canada, the country's only all-media union, is calling on the federal government to take action before it’s too late to prevent Postmedia from destroying the country’s major daily newspapers.

The union is urging legislation or regulations to limit concentration of media ownership and prevent destructive debt-leveraged takeovers of important national companies.

Postmedia, which holds a near monopoly on English-language newspapers across most of Canada, reported today that it is firing 90 journalists and merging its papers in four markets: Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton. The company had already cut more than half its staff and slashed newsroom budgets.

Postmedia blames shrinking print advertising for its woes, but by far the biggest factor is its debt, which stands at a whopping $672 million.

CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon called it a “dark day for journalism” and predicted that the bloodletting will only hasten the company’s slide toward bankruptcy.

"We’re now seeing why it’s so dangerous to let one corporation have so much control,” O’Hanlon said. “It’s bad for journalism, the economy and democracy."

He said Postmedia should be investing in quality journalism, refinancing, and selling some publications or divisions – or selling the whole company.

“This is what happens when ‘investors’ are allowed to buy a company using a huge amount of borrowed money and then bleed it dry to pay New York hedge fund lenders while keeping the CEO in their pocket with big bonuses.

“It is an outright scam and there should be financial regulations to prevent it. It's particularly egregious in this case because they’re not just destroying a company and hurting shareholders, they are well on their way to destroying quality print journalism in Canada — a huge blow to the public good.”

 

About CWA Canada

CWA Canada represents about 6,000 workers at companies such as the CBC, The Canadian Press, Thomson Reuters and many Postmedia publications.


For interviews or more information, contact:

Martin O'Hanlon
President, CWA Canada
613-820-8460
mohanlon@cwa-scacanada.ca