Student Life: Public Service Media – Why Should We Care?

CMNSU_Online_PSM_GraphicIt is no secret that the CBC and other public service media in Canada is dissolving under Harper’s Government. Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, OpenMedia.ca, and even the CBC itself have issued many campaigns to raise awareness of the dramatic cuts to public service media over the past two decades. There’s no question that this is a reality. So the real question for students today becomes why should we care?

We all have our opinion of the CBC, from its programing to Ghomeshi; but we tend to forget its important role in our democratic media. Along with other public service media, such as the Knowledge Network, the CBC is the only media which is subsidized by government funding to provide impartial news journalism and programing that promotes national identity and culture. A recent survey found that 80% of Canadians still highly value CBC as a public service and would like to see public service media continue. In a country with many different cultures, ethnicities, and languages, public service media is an essential service that recognizes this rich diversity and provides content for all Canadians.

The problem is that our public service media is at stake. Out of all the priorities set out by the Conservative mandate, none refer to any progression in public programing, culture, or the CBC. Without action, there is no guarantee that our public service media can continue to survive.

But how does this really affect Simon Fraser University students? The fact is, we are moving into a digital age where our access to media is more important than ever. From tablet streaming to up-to-the-minute online news reporting, the Internet is changing how we consume Canadian news and programing. However, no government policy has been made to ensure that the value of public service media continues onto future media platforms.

As soon-to-be graduates from the School of Communication, this problem is personal. It not only affects our job prospects in the media field, but leaves us worried for the future health of Canadian culture. Our consumption may change, but we will always need media that is publicly owned, culturally distinct and reflective of Canadian values.

But what can we do about it? We, as students in the School of Communication, are starting the conversation by telling everyone we know that this issue matters. Spreading the word is the first step we can take towards protecting our public service media. Join us in raising our voices to support thriving public service media here in Canada.

For more information and a variety of ways to support public service media, please visit: http://www.friends.ca/action

– Ashley Macey, Sarah Pratt, David Asselstine, Hye Rim Lee, and Shelley Wong, Student Life Contributors