The Columbia Journal
P.O. Box 2633 MPO,
Vancouver, British Columbia,
Canada V6B 3W8
Poll Says BC Residents Support Knowledge Network
CPP News Service
Privatization of the Knowledge Network does not have the support of
British Columbians, according to a survey conducted by Ipsos-Reid for
the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting.
The survey, conducted earlier in March, found that 69 per cent of
respondents opposed selling the Knowledge Network to a private
“We are hopeful this survey will reach Premier Campbell before the
'sold' sign is hung outside the offices of the Knowledge Network,” said
Ian Morrison, spokesperson for Friends of Canadian Broadcasting. “This
survey proves that British Columbians believe that privatization of
their public broadcaster is simply a bad idea. Privatization of the
Knowledge Network is least popular in regions of the province away from
Victoria and Vancouver, where access to choice is more restricted and
the Network has an even greater impact.”
The Knowledge Network is currently owned and operated by the Open
Learning Agency, a government body that is being wound down. Seven
proposals to buy the provincial public broadcaster have been
Bidders include Learning and Skills Television of Alberta; a
partnership of Insight Film and Video and Channel M of Vancouver;
Paperny Films of Vancouver, in association with the Jim Pattison
Broadcast Group and CBC; and Vision TV of Ontario, Calgary-based
A-Channel, which is owned by Craig Media Inc., and a group of B.C.
educators headed by Vancouver lawyer Jon Festinger. Evaluation of the
bids is reported to have been completed in February.
“Public broadcasters provide valuable services to British Columbians
and at a very modest operating cost. Citizenship, training,
education and community programming are all part of the worthy
accomplishments that flow from a public broadcaster that is not focused
on building audiences simply to attract advertising," said Mr. Morrison.
Friends commissioned the survey in co-operation with the Victoria-based
organization The West Coast Media Society.
The Ipsos-Reid survey was conducted in March among a representative
cross-section of 800 British Columbia adults. With a sample of
this size, the results are considered accurate to within +- 3.5
percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had
the entire adult British Columbia population been polled.
The question posed was, “As you may know, the BC government has been
talking about selling various corporations that it currently controls.
One of these corporations is the Knowledge Network, British Columbia's
educational television network. Would you strongly favour, somewhat
favour, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose the provincial government
selling the Knowledge Network to a private broadcaster?”
Morrison says that people who generally identify as being in the
more conservative realm of the political spectrum oppose the sale by a
“The Knowledge Network is making a distinctive and worthwhile
contribution to British Columbia and people know this to be true,” he
said. “It has a long history and has a special place on the dial for
children and adults across the province. We hope this survey will
give Liberal Ministers the ammunition they need to head off this
Friends of Canadian Broadcasting is a Canada-wide voluntary
organization supported by 60,000 households whose mission is to defend
and enhance Canadian programming in Canada's audio-visual system.
“We will be sharing this survey news with our supporters in 13,379
households throughout British Columbia, and urging them to join in our
efforts to oppose the sale of the Knowledge Network,” said Morrison.