Quebecor Media Inc.’s potential sale of its 175 English-language dailies may be good news for buyer Postmedia Network Canada Corp. But, in interviews yesterday with CBC’s Calgary Eyeopener, CBC’s As It Happens, CBC News Calgary, CTV Calgary and DeSmog Canada, I argued it will likely be a bad news for Canadians.
Here’s the pith of my argument: first, if the $316 million sale is approved by the Competition Bureau, one company will be able to dictate editorial direction to almost every major urban daily in country. Even if that power isn’t used, the possibility of abuse is enough to give pause to anyone concerned about democracy and debate in Canada.
Second, despite Postmedia president and chief executive officer Paul Godfrey’s assurances, this deal will likely result in layoffs and newsroom closures, further reducing the resources the fourth estate has to hold power to account in this country.
And third, the birthing of such a behemoth will almost certainly push the already endangered beat of media criticism to the brink of extinction. After all, the number of journalists willing to risk future employment by criticizing the country’s largest newspaper chain would be few and far between.