Canuck committee criticizes CBC

Canadian Senate takes aim at net

Pubcaster CBC Television should stop showing pro sports, selling commercials and showing U.S. programming, per a report released Wednesday by a Canadian Senate committee on the local news media.

The committee said the web has strayed from its core mandate and called on the government to supply stable, increased funding for the CBC instead.

“CBC-TV in particular is in danger of losing its way,” Sen. Joan Fraser, head of the committee, told CBC Radio. “It’s trying to be all things to all people. It’s trying to compete head-on with the private sector, where such competition is neither necessary nor in the public interest.”

Panel recommended that covering professional sports and the Olympics be left to commercial broadcasters.

The Senate report comes as the pubcaster came under fire Wednesday for bumping its flagship newscast program on Tuesdays to simulcast the U.S. version of reality show “The One” in an effort to boost ratings.

The Senate report also expressed concern about media concentration in Canada and said it would support an automatic review of media concentration whenever a single owner held more than a certain percentage of local media, especially in a cross-media situation involving print and broadcast.

CanWest Global topper Leonard Asper recently appealed for media ownership limits to be relaxed in Canada. CanWest is Canada’s largest media company.

The report also calls for broadcast regulator the CRTC to be given the power to levy fines on broadcasters not adhering to conditions of license.

It is not clear what weight the Senate report carries, as its 40 recommendations are not binding.

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