I’ve been re-reading a novel (Lady Oracle) by one of my favorite authors, Margaret Atwood. I Googled her and look what she’s up to there in Canada. Things are getting pretty hot in the land of snow…
Margaret Atwood is criticizing Stephen Harper over what she sees as his dictatorial approach to regulating the airwaves.
The literary icon has signed an online petition aimed at keeping a “Fox News North” channel off the air in Canada. But it’s not the idea of a right-wing television station she’s objecting to. Rather, the prolific and celebrated writer doesn’t like the Prime Minister’s style of governing.
Unlike the US, where public broadcasting is the backwaters of TV, in Canada it’s more like the BBC– right out in prime time. It’s partially tax-funded, and in the middle of a political fight over whether a spot on state-sponsored basic cable should be given to Sun TV News, a controversial news outlet.
The decision by the CRTC, Canadas TV watchdog, not to compel Canadian cable and satellite TV subscribers to pay for Sun TV News has apparently landed CRTC chair Konrad von Finckenstein in hot water.
Sun TV News is led by Kory Teneycke, a former spinmeister for prime minister Harper, is understood to be looking for von Finckenstein’s head for forcing the upstart news channel onto the open market for survival.
The prime ministers office in Ottawa has denied that the CRTC chair faces the chopping block. And Teneycke, vp of development at Quebecor, also lashed out at Atwood and other signatorees of the Avaaz petition.
Avaaz is an advocacy organization that supports environmental and human rights causes. It’s not surprising that Margaret Atwood, whose two latest novels are speculative fiction about environmental disaster, would be on their email list.
She’s certainly stirred things up, with her audacious internet petition signing. Some commenters have called her names I won’t repeat here, though maybe ‘witch’ was intended as a compliment. She can take the heat. She’ll be fine. She’s a writer.
UPDATE: An editorial that asks if Sun TV is being ‘shoved down their throat’. Hit ’em with a hockey stick, eh?