Latest NewsCanadian ethnic media producers lobby for support

Canadian ethnic media producers lobby for support

Independent ethnic community television producers have launched the “This Show is Made with Zero Support from the Government” campaign, saying third-language programming is in jeopardy without more funding.

A number of shows broadcast on Rogers Sports & Media multicultural broadcaster OMNI TV began airing the public service announcements last week, which warn viewers that without support, multicultural voices could start disappearing from the airwaves, urging their audiences to contact their local Member of Parliament.

The producers say advertising revenues are insufficient to maintain quality programming and the campaign has been launched out of frustration with government inaction.

“Politicians and government like to talk about diversity, but the shocking paradox is that in a country as diverse as Canada, programs like ours receive absolutely no government support, unlike large broadcasters or independent producers of television content in English and French,” said Kiu Rezvanifar, President of the Canadian Ethnic Media Association (CEMA) and producer of two shows targeting the Iranian community.

The group says despite the Online Streaming Act calling for diverse and third-language content to be bolstered, in fiscal 2023-24, less than 0.0128% ($4.3M) of the Canada Media Fund’s $336 million in support for Canada’s television and digital media industry went to diverse language programs, benefitting just seven companies.

CEMA says one in three Canadians identify as “ethnic,” and one in four speak a language at home other than French or English. The group says many independent third-language producers at OMNI have been producing their shows for 20-30 years, often targeted at small, under-served communities whose language of comfort is neither English nor French, helping to break down barriers to access news and information.

Igor Malakhov

“The situation is extremely frustrating. Many of our shows are on the edge of closing down. In the past six months, we have been talking to the Department of Canadian Heritage and other government officials about the urgency of the situation, but these conversations have not resulted in any traction,” said Igor Malakhov, who produces TV, a weekly show in Russian.

In a statement provided to Broadcast Dialogue, the Canada Media Fund said it “has been—and will remain—actively engaged in a conversation with third-language broadcasters, producers, and the Government of Canada in a continuous effort to adjust to Canada’s dynamic audiovisual industry.”

“We are listening and look forward to pursuing solutions with all of these parties to better serve Canadian audiences,” CMF stated.

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Connie Thiessen
Connie Thiessen
Connie has worked coast-to-coast as a reporter, editor, anchor and host at CKNW and News 1130 in Vancouver, News 95.7 and CBC in Halifax, and CFCW Edmonton, among other stations. With a passion for music, film and community service, she led News 95.7 to a 2013 Atlantic Journalism Award and regional RTDNA award for Best Radio Newscast. More recently, she was nominated for Music Journalist of the Year at Canadian Music Week 2019. To report a typo or error please email -

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