The regional coverage is about to change in Abitibiti-Témiscamingue, whereas the distribution of the local signal of the Radio-Canada television will stop here a week in the area. A decision that strongly criticizes the canadian Union of public employees (CUPE), in a letter sent Sunday morning.
It is the company RNC Media, which transmits the local news of Radio-Canada in the region. The group had already announced an end to the agreement linking it to the State society, at the beginning of the month of march, thus slowing down all the activities of the antenna CKRN.
It will be officially closed on the 25th of march, unless notice to the contrary, warns the ceo of RNC Media, Mario Cecchini.
The boss of the company had stated, during the announcement of the news, that his group preferred currently focusing all his efforts on two other partnerships in scale, with VAT and Vtélé in particular.
Lack of diversity
Even if the population in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region will continue to have access to the programming of Radio-Canada, via cable, satellite or the Internet site, the CUPE is deeply concerned about the lack of diversity of voices that will result from this closure, and claims to fear for the future of local news across the country.
“The mission of Radio-Canada, is to give service and to reflect all regions of Quebec and of Canada, explains the vice-president of the Conseil provincial du secteur des communications (CPSC-CUPE), Richard Labelle. The Crown corporation makes the region silent and invisible in the eyes of the rest of the country. If the SRC may eliminate, in Abitibi, it could do so elsewhere also. This is a worrying situation.”
The evidence has not yet been made, according to CUPE, that a local station can indeed be profitable. It would be sufficient to attract its local audience by news bulletins, complete that are based on regional news only.
“According to a study conducted by Influence Communication in 2016, the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region is one of the regions least well serviced by local information in Quebec,” says the grouping of trade unions.
Cultivate the appetite local
The appetite of the population for the new local is still present, considers that the trade union advisor with the CUPE, Steve Bargone.
“It is to believe, and in the case of Radio-Canada to fulfill its mission. Unfortunately, the public broadcaster does not meet its first purpose”, he says.
Mr. Bargone added that, for decades, the provincial Council for the communications sector to be constantly reminded, in front of the Council of broadcasting and telecommunications commission (CRTC), the importance of the local news and diversity of voices.
“It is sad that the CRTC was not able to take action to prevent this tragedy”, he said.