70 former CBC employees call for an investigation into the public broadcaster

A group of 70 former Canadian Broadcasting Corporation employees are calling on the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to investigate the taxpayer-funded broadcaster. 

In a letter, the employees urged the CRTC to look into the CBC’s new branded content arm, Tandem. 

After years of declining revenue and poor viewership numbers, the CBC launched Tandem in September of this year with the hopes that it would boost the broadcaster’s finances.

Less than a month after its launch, the division was put on hold for review after the CBC union criticized the initiative for its impact on the public broadcaster’s reputation. 

“(Canadian Media Guild) members at CBC are very concerned about CBC Tandem and how it could impact their work and the reputation of CBC as a trusted independent news and information service. CMG members are asking for clarity about this new service, and about what safeguards and transparent monitoring processes are in place to ensure an unambiguous separation of news and commercial interests,” reads a CMG news release

According to the CBC, they have been offering branded content to advertisers for years and Tandem simply formalized that aspect of the business. Despite this, the group of 70 former employees have raised transparency concerns.

“The CBC made no mention of branded content in its fall 2019 licence renewal application to the CRTC. There is no reference in the CRTC’s public information about the CBC, nor is there any disclosure in the CBC’s annual reports,” claimed the letter. 

Last month, the CBC announced that it would be laying off 130 employees across Canada. The company cited poor revenue performance and high operating costs as reasons for the layoffs. 

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