The Canadian Association of Jounalists believes Rogers Media is abandoning a necessary commitment to multicultural communities in Canada by choosing to shut down some multilingual newscasts at its OMNI-TV stations.
According to media reports, about 100 staff members across the country received layoff notices Thursday, with many focused on newscasts aired on OMNI stations in Western Canada. The cuts are in response to continuing financial losses within Rogers Media-owned OMNI and CityTV stations and there are suggestions the domestically produced newscasts in Cantonese, Mandarin, Punjabi and Italian have faced stiff competition from foreign-language specialty channels that are increasingly available as part of cable and satellite packages across Canada.
“OMNI-TV broke a lot of new ground in Canada, bringing relevant news and information to multicultural audiences in their own language, produced by people living and working in their communities,” CAJ president Hugo Rodrigues said. “The loss of these newscasts will erase a legacy of bringing these communities news from afar and information on what was happening in their own cultural community in Canada.”
The CAJ challenges Rogers Media make a firm commitment to investing in multicultural news and information programming across the entire media spectrum, as this is crucial to maintaining the strong and multicultural Canada in which companies like Rogers can prosper.
The CAJ is Canada’s largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing over 600 members across the country. The CAJ’s primary roles are to provide public-interest advocacy and high-quality professional development for its members.