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What Canadians think of their CBC says much about what we think of our own public broadcasters... the opposite

I shall return to the topic of the future of public broadcasting (now more often and perhaps more aptly referred to in the Caribbean as 'state-owned broadcasting'), particularly in the wake of the Allan Chastanet administration's decision to close Radio St Lucia after a near-half-century of service - based on specious but popular misconceptions about technological access and public broadcasting as inefficient peddler of government information. As I said, more on that later.

For now, the focus is on the public broadcaster in the land where the St Lucian PM studied as a young man - Canada. While the poll discussed focuses on what one political party's supporters think of the state-owned Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), much is revealed of the extent of the Canadian public's support for their bona fide public broadcaster, considering not only expanded choice of commercial Canadian channels but also the all-consuming footprint of next-door neighbour, United States.

"Overall, the Nanos poll found that only 14 per cent of respondents across the country were in favour of reducing the CBC’s $1 billion annual budget, which is funded by Canadian taxpayers," Canada's National Observer reported.

Says a lot about the relative maturity of a people, volumes about the relative maturity of a political culture, which  seemingly can accommodate such novel ideas as editorial independence and plurality of opinions.

Eight out of ten Canadians agree with the notion that now that virtually all private news media in Canada are owned by only a few large corporations it is more important than ever to have a "strong and vibrant" CBC.

Independent journalism is one of the hardest pills to swallow for our politicians, which is why they now so easily seek to jettison public broadcasters, banking as they do on support from an electorate kept ignorant of the necessity of this cornerstone of public broadcasting. Having for two generations so crudely enslaved state media as vassals - and vessels - of partisan political propaganda and censorship, the ruling political class now prefers to own partisan channels outight, unfettered by such an inconvenience as ethical and professional conduct.

"Broadcasting," the firebrand Labour politican Tony Benn is reputed to have said in 1968 when minister for technology, "is really too important a thing to be left to the broadcasters."

More from National Observer:
Here’s what card-carrying Tories really think about the CBC

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