Quebecor's conservative channel set to start next year
Quebecor said on Tuesday it has applied for a three-year license for the proposed English-language Sun TV News channel and if successful, would start broadcasting on Jan. 1, 2011.
Quebecor Chief Executive Pierre Karl Peladeau said Sun TV News would provide much-needed competition for all-news channels operated by public broadcaster Canadian Broadcasting Corp and by CTV, part owned by telecoms giant BCE Inc (BCE.TO) (BCE.N) and newspaper publisher Torstar Corp (TSb.TO).
Quebecor owns the right-wing Sun chain of tabloid newspapers. In French-speaking Quebec, it owns the Journal de Montreal paper, TVA television and the LCN all-news channel.
The launch of Sun TV News will certainly please the governing Conservative Party, which complains regularly about what it sees as biased reporting by the CBC. It will be run by Kory Teneycke, former chief spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Peladeau did not answer directly when asked whether he had discussed the proposed new channel with Harper and did not give a figure for how much Quebecor would invest.
Critics say the channel will turn into the Canadian version of Fox News, the successful U.S. take-no-prisoners right-wing channel run by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp (NWSA.O).
One of the slogans on the Sun TV News website is "Join the fight" and Teneycke said the channel would be "unapologetically patriotic" and "controversially Canadian".
Don Newman, a respected former CBC anchor, wrote in a blog that the Conservatives did not need
Veteran CTV journalist Craig Oliver, speaking last week, said Peladeau was "very, very conservative, not to say extremely right wing".
Teneycke dismissed such criticism as self-serving.