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Quebecor threatening the CBC’s French-language network with legal action.

So basically, in a nutshell, Quebecor Inc. is threatening the CBC’s French-language network Radio-Canada with legal action unless the broadcaster advertises in the media giant’s newspapers and magazines.

The whole thing started when Quebecor boss Pierre Karl Peladeau made the threats in a number of letters to Radio-Canada (CBC) president Hubert Lacroix, including one sent September 2011.

A Quebecor spokesman told the Globe and Mail earlier this week that the company (Quebecor) is in the final stages of analyzing the dossier.

CBC President Mr. Lacroix responded to the spokesperson’s words by saying Quebecor’s readers aren’t part of the target audience that the CBC is looking for.

This whole thing seems a bit ridiculous.

This reminds me of high school or even public school when someone had something of value and another person wanted it so they would do whatever was in their power to try and achieve it.

In this case it seems to be nothing more then a power struggle and type of jealousy between one of Canada’s most trusted and respected news agencies and a French, wash-up of a brand who wishes they where the CBC.

Quebecor owns TVA, the French-language broadcaster that is Radio-Canada’s biggest competitor in Quebec, as well as Sun Media, which publishes SUN newspapers and runs, SUN TV across the country.

In Quebec, the company’s publications includes Le Journal de Montreal, a popular tabloid across the province.

Mr. Peladeau concludes that Radio-Canada stopped buying ads in Quebecor publications when it locked out employees at two newspapers.

He says Radio-Canada is also reacting to criticism of the Crown broadcaster by Quebecor journalists.

The warning of legal action came in September 2011.

“If you continue harming Canadians by pursuing these illegal measures, we are advising you that we will ask the courts to stop these petty and illegal practices,” Mr. Peladeau wrote.

The warning was repeated in another letter in December.

Mr. Peladeau used the Quebecor website to send New Year’s greetings,  to get his message across, he said it did not appear as though Mr. Lacroix had made a resolution to “eliminate his discriminatory advertising practices.”

Mr. Lacroix has always said throughout the emails between the two sides that Quebecor’s market doesn’t reflect what Radio-Canada is seeking.

That should be the end of it.

Why Quebecor is continuing to bully the CBC into advertising in their chain baffles me.

“The choice of advertising vehicles to promote Radio-Canada’s programming is done without regard to ownership considerations,”   Lacroix wrote to Mr. Peladeau on Sept. 29, 2009.

“Its choice of advertising space is aimed only at meeting the requirements to promote its programming.”

Mr. Lacroix makes the same point in several letters to Peladeau.

Quebecor has not yet gone to court on this issue.

Serge Sasseville is Quebecor’s vice-president of corporate and institutional affairs.

He said earlier this week that the company’s legal service is completing the analysis of the file.

“Because we’re in the last phase of our analysis, it would not be appropriate for us to comment.” Sasseville added.

Radio-Canada says its advertising strategy is perfectly legal.

“We have done nothing wrong,” spokesman Marco Dube said in a story published in the Globe and Mail earlier this week.

*Please Note: The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act  obtained the correspondence between Mr. Peladeau and Mr. Lacroix. The original article in which inspired me to write this piece was written with files from the Canadian Press and published in the Globe and Mail Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012.

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About harrisonperkinsjblog

Harrison Perkins Journalisim Student at Loyalist College in Belleville, Ontario, Canada

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