CBC President States Pubcaster’s Very Existence Is at Risk


MUNICH: In speaking at the Public Broadcasters International Conference in Germany, Hubert T. Lacroix, the president of Canada's CBC, addressed the massive downsizing and funding cuts that have been occurring at the pubcaster.

In a prepared speech, Lacroix admitted, "Our resources have been shrinking and it has forced us to make tough decisions; to lose furniture in order to save the house. It has meant huge job losses and a reduced ability to do the very things that we have been mandated to do. It’s happening in Australia, in France, in the U.K., in Brazil and in virtually every service represented in this room. And I can say with considerable sadness, it’s been happening in Canada."

Lacroix did say that the CBC is not entirely blameless, though: "In many ways, we have failed to make a compelling enough case for public broadcasting. Sometimes, protecting our independence has made us reluctant to provide the kind of transparency now expected of public institutions. Sometimes our very public internal crises and more importantly, our management of them, have damaged our brand, our credibility, and undermined our public support. Yes, sometimes we are our own worst enemies.

"But mostly, we are at fault, for not speaking loudly enough about the threats we face. We focus on managing each individual threat, each trade-off, each reduction in funding, each drop in revenue because that’s what public institutions are expected to do at the expense of the bigger issues all around us. Like the proverbial frog put in cold water that is slowly heated, we’ve resisted telling people that we risk being boiled to death."

He urged that public broadcasters need to do more to earn public support and demonstrate their value. "In Canada we are accelerating our digital strategy to enhance our connection with audiences. In the next year, we’re going to try and spark a national conversation on the future of our entire media ecosystem and CBC/Radio-Canada’s place in it."