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Postmedia's betrayal of trust

TORONTO, Jan. 19, 2016 /CNW/ - Postmedia's plan to consolidate newsrooms across Canada is a massive betrayal of trust by the newspaper chain to its readers, Unifor says.

"The state of the news industry in this country – both print and broadcast – demands the immediate attention of the new Liberal government in Ottawa," said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.

"An informed public is the bedrock of a democratic society. Canada needs a strong news industry to ensure we have that informed public electing our leaders."

Unifor represents journalists and other staff at Postmedia papers in Ottawa and Vancouver where, along with newspapers in Edmonton and Calgary, newsrooms are being merged. In a memo to staff, the company said 90 jobs will be cut.

Today's announcement, coupled with the crisis facing the broadcast industry in the wake of questionable CRTC rulings under the Harper government, shows that urgent attention must be given to the state of the news industry in Canada.

The only major newspapers in English Canada that Postmedia does not own are the Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail and the Winnipeg Free Press.

"This is an enormous concentration of media control into a few hands," Dias said. "Centralized newsgathering and opinions, including in local news, do not add to the national debate that helps build a functioning democracy."

"With each quieted voice, our democracy suffers."

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers, including 14,500 in media. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.