Fox News North facing opposition
Online petition fights proposed right wing Sun TV NewsTORONTO -- Fox News North is facing blowback.
Avaaz, a U.S.-based special interest group aligned with U.S. billionaire George Soros, has asked online visitors to sign a "Stop Fox News North" petition to oppose a proposed right wing Canadian news channel Sun TV News.
The petition alleges the 24/7 Canadian service modeled on the U.S.-based Fox News channel will bring American-style hate media onto our airwaves.
The response was immediate and very public.
Celebrity Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood, whose seen a slew of her books turned into movies, signed the petition and took to Twitter to denounce Sun TV News not for it right wing content, but for Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper foisting a U.S.-style right wing TV service onto Canadians.
"Not about content, 4 me; about process, & a commercial station exacting forced fees. CBC was set up as a service, not a biz," Atwood tweeted, referring to a failed bid by Sun TV News-parent Quebecor Inc. to secure mandatory carriage for the domestic news channel from January 1, 2011.
The decision by the CRTC, Canadas TV watchdog, not to compel Canadian cable and satellite TV subscribers to pay for Sun TV News has apparently landed CRTC chair Konrad von Finckenstein in hot water.
Sun TV News is led by Kory Teneycke, a former spinmeister for prime minister Harper, is understood to be looking for von Finckenstein's head for forcing the upstart news channel onto the open market for survival.
The prime ministers office in Ottawa has denied that the CRTC chair faces the chopping block.
And Teneycke, vp of development at Quebecor, also lashed out at Atwood and other signatorees of the Avaaz petition.
Atwood is not the only A-list celebrity that has signed. Dwight Schrute (from "The Office), Boba Fett (of "Star Wars"), Snuffaluffagus ("Sesame Street") and Homer Simpson are also signatories, he argued, questioning the veracity of the petition.
Quebecor has been forced to return to the CRTC with a revised application for a broadcast license that seeks mandatory access to the Canadian market for at least three years, rather than mandatory carriage.
Rival broadcaster CTVglobemedia immediately urged the CRTC to grant CTV News and other existing all-news channels the same treatment that might be given to Sun TV News.
We welcome competition in the marketplace. But all news channels must operate on the same playing field, CTVglobemedia's executive vp of corporate affairs Paul Sparkes said.
If Quebecor is granted an exemption, then we expect all other players to be granted the same exemption, he added.
The CRTC will hold hearings starting September 19 on Sun TV News application for a domestic broadcast license.