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The fight to save local news is on

People are fighting back to save their local news.

First, the employees and community of Hamilton got together in a move to buy CHCH in the Canwest firesale and return it to local ownership. It’s a wonderful effort I’ll write much more about later.

Now at least one city council is stepping up to sound the alarm. Not surprisingly, it’s Windsor, which knows what it’s like to lose a station (CBC in 1991 — it returned in 1994). Now it’s losing CTV’s A Channel at the end of August. And because of the government-CBC budget dispute, there’s concern about the future of the CBC in Windsor too.

Last night, Windsor City Council adopted a resolution that calls on Council and the Mayor to petition the CRTC and the government to do a comprehensive review of the crisis in conventional TV and do what it takes to focus on policies that will guarantee Canadian media content in markets such as Windsor.

Here’s what it says:

Whereas the citizens of Windsor and Essex County want and deserve a strong local and Canadian television presence; and
Whereas Windsor-Essex is located with 1000 yards of a major American media shadow; and
Whereas Windsor-Essex is a unique region with regards to the impact of local issues and how they have profound provincial and national impact in areas such as the U.S. Canadian border, International Trade and the Auto Industry, to name a few; and
Whereas the CRTC has announced that later this year a review of the crisis in conventional television will take place;
Therefore, be it resolved that Council and the Mayor, for the City of Windsor, Ontario, petition the CRTC and the Government of Canada to undertake the following:

Without further delay, immediately commence a comprehensive review of the crisis in conventional television; and
That this review look at all policy framework with the intent of creating new, and/or enhancing existing policies in order to guarantee Canadian media content in unique markets such as Windsor-Essex, by way of special designations, recognizing the close proximity of major U.S. media; and
During this review, interim measures be immediately instituted in order to protect markets such as Windsor-Essex, and any other media markets, currently at risk of not having their broadcast license renewed by the current license holders.

Percy Hatfield, a former CBC Windsor reporter, is now a Windsor councillor and just happens to be at a meeting of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities this week. Let’s hope he spreads his Windsor zeal to every community in this country.

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