OTTAWA - Radio-Canada journalists say they won’t help the minister responsible for the state broadcaster be more accountable to Canadian taxpayers.
The union representing the French CBC’s communications workers filed a grievance earlier this month, objecting to a new code of conduct that, among other things, asks employees to serve the public interest by “Loyally carrying out the lawful decisions of their leaders and supporting ministers in their accountability to Parliament and Canadians.”
This new code of conduct came into force April 2 and replaced the old rules that dated from November 2006.
Union president Alex Levasseur said the requirement to support ministers in their accountability to Parliament is offensive and amounts to an oath of allegiance to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s ministers. Radio-Canada employees should not be subject to political influence, and Levasseur does not think the $1.1 billion in public funding the state broadcaster receives annually creates a special obligation to be accountable to Canadians through Parliament. He added that Radio-Canada had always been at arms’ length from the government and that the new code of conduct put that healthy distance in jeopardy.
UPDATE: The Quebec federation of professional journalists also objects (story in French).