EDITORIALS

 





By ALEXANDRA JACQUES
Arts, lettres et communications,
option Langues

 

 

Protecting the Media's Neutrality

The Liberal Party won the election of April 2014. Afterwards, Pauline Marois resigned as the Parti Québecois leader. Thus, there is currently a PQ leadership race and Pierre-Karl Péladeau (PKP), the main owner of Québecor, is one of the potential candidates. However, we must ask ourselves a question: Should we let him mix politics and business? For many reasons, Pierre-Karl Péladeau should not run the PQ.

Québecor is the largest media conglomerate in Canada. According to LaPresse, Pierre-Karl Péladeau owns 75% of its interest; it is his father’s inheritance. Québecor Media’s Empire holds more than 200 newspapers, TVA (the biggest distributor of French-language entertainment, information and public affairs in North-America), Archambault, 10 magazines and the Vidéotron cable company. PKP is now a front-runner  as Pauline Marois’s replacement. The Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) introduced a motion that consists in forcing PKP to renounce to his holdings in Quebecor to keep his seat at the National Assembly, the Liberal Party supports the CAQ; both parties are convinced that it is a conflict of interest.

Some people defend PKP, such as Bernard Landry, Gilles Duceppe and many other people from the PQ. They conceive that if PKP puts his holdings into a blind trust controlled by nonpartisan people, then there will be no conflict of interest. Furtwhermore, some people argue that he is really important in Québec’s history, so we should not exclude him from the leadership race.

The first reason why PKP should not run the PQ is that he is Québecor’s majority shareholder and he has unbridled influence on the world of media. According to the TV show Enquête, Québecor represents 40% of Québec’s media forces. This is huge. Therefore, his place as the PQ leader would enhance his influence in our province even if he puts his holdings into a blind trust. In the last few years, it was proven that Québecor’s newspapers were not entirely independent from the empire’s interests. They have published many articles going against CBC, Bell Company and the FTQ, its main competitors. Additionally, if PKP becomes the PQ leader, he could easily make decisions that would favor his company’s interest, it would create cases of intrusion. Lastly, this motion is not necessarily against him personally, but in favor of Québec’s democracy because if PKP ends up becoming the PQ leader, he could decide to hide information in Quebecor’s networks in order to look flawless.

The motion needs to be accepted because media have to be totally independent from politics; it is essential for a democracy. However, PKP must not be banned because no businessman will step into politics. Perhaps they would be really good leaders since they have great success with their companies.

In conclusion, PKP should not lead the PQ for many reasons. Even if he puts his holdings into a blind trust, it is not ethically acceptable because it would be a gigantic violation of civil rights; we deserve to be informed with neutrality.  We have two choices: either we give PKP the power to become a media mogul, or we protect our democracy.   

 

 

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