Quebecor Media Serves Lawsuit Notice On CBC

The Quebec media giant has told the Canadian pubcaster to issue a retraction and an apology for defaming a competitor with accusations over taxpayer subsidies.

TORONTO -- Quebecor Media has ordered rival CBC/Radio Canada to retract “defamatory” accusations it published last week, or face a lawsuit.

The move follows the pubcaster last week issuing via its website a statement that said Quebecor, a Quebec media giant, secured around $500 million in direct and indirect taxpayer subsidies over the last three years.

Shooting back, Quebecor said the accusations were “false, incomplete and defamatory.”

Besides taking down the information from its website, Quebecor put the CBC on legal notice to publish an apology “to set the record straight.”

CBC spokesman Marco Dube in a statement said the pubcaster was not “surprised” by the formal legal notice received on Friday.

“We’re analyzing the letter and we’ll respond in due time,” he added.

Both the CBC and Quebecor claim their rival is out to harm the other’s reputation as they fight a long-running public battle over whether the pubcaster should be compelled to release key programming expenditure data to federal information commissioner Suzanne Legault.

The CBC contends it is already accountable to Candian taxpayers because it releases corporate data to a board of directors, and publishes annual reports, among other avenues of disclosure.

Legault is looking to answer freedom-of-information requests from Quebecor media outlets Sun News and its Sun newspaper chain.

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