New coalition opposes Bell’s proposed takeover of Astral Media


A group of organizations calling itself the Stop the Takeover Coalition is opposing Bell Canada’s proposed $3.4-billion purchase of Astral Media.

The coalition, which includes the Vancouver-based group and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, argues the takeover could lead to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers.

“Imagine every time you turn on your TV, computer or mobile device you are forced into a preselected menu of Bell content, rather than having the open, unencumbered choice you should expect,” the coalition states on its website. “That's where this merger may be taking us.

“The proposed Bell power grab will mean fewer media and telecom choices, higher prices, and less opportunity for free speech.”

The group is encouraging Canadians to send their comments to the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, the Competition Bureau, and other decision-makers to oppose the proposed takeover.

The coalition also includes the Consumers’ Association of Canada, the Council of Canadians, and the Council of Senior Citizens’ Organizations of British Columbia.

This is the second coalition to rally against the proposed takeover this summer. Media companies Quebecor, Eastlink and Cogeco launched a campaign earlier this month called "Say No to Bell".

Astral Media owns 22 television services and 84 radio stations, including The Movie Network and HBO Canada.

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The coalition should also oppose the agreement made between Shaw Cable and Bell that is raising cable bills.
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