TORONTO (Dec. 12)
The Canadian Jewish Congress, while strongly supporting the license renewal of the publicly funded Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC), has expressed some concerns over its ethnocultural coverage and hiring practices with respect to minority groups in Canada.
In a submission to the Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC), the organization recommended that CBC Television interpret its mandate to “play a role in ensuring that all ethnocultural groups live in harmony and equality with the two dominant cultures” in Canada which are Anglo-Saxon and French.
The submission provided an analysis of instances where the CJC found CBC wanting. They include coverage of events of national importance to the various ethnocultural communities that have been covered only during crisis periods or as colorful backdrops to specific events.
Also noted was the fact that CBC accepted only eight people of 850 applicants for a highly publicized minority training program. “Recruitment on a much grander scale could be successfully applied,” the CJC brief said.
RECOMMENDATIONS BY THE CJC
It recommended that the CBC “should go beyond reflecting the heterogeneity of the various ethnocultural communites” through skin color or names and that the corporation encourage Sikhs with turbans or Jews with skullcaps, for example, to appear on camera.
The CJC also suggested what the CBC could be doing to counter anti-minority activity. It cited recent programs on Nazi war criminals and hate propaganda as examples. But it believes the CBC could more fully implement its stated policy of “challenging stereotypes” not only in the studio but outside in the community at large.
The brief praised the CBC radio program “Identities” as an execellent example of ethnocultural reporting. It encouraged the development of similar programs on both English and French language television networks, but stressed that this should not be the only niche for ethnocultural programing.
“A determined effort must be made to cover the ethnocultural communities on an on-going day-to-day basis, but reporters must be attracted to stories which would serve as windows to the real inner lives of those communities,” the CJC brief stated.