Quebecor Media Inc. is stepping up its fight against the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
The Montreal-based multimedia and broadcasting company headed by Pierre-Karl Péladeau issued a formal letter of notice Friday demanding the public broadcaster immediately remove from its website a text about Quebecor that it – Quebecor – claims is defamatory, deliberately misleading and malicious.
The CBC text is entitled “ What Quebecor won’t tell you about its attacks on the public broadcaster.” Another document is titled “ Examining Quebecor Media’s Free Market Message.”
Quebecor says the text in question is intended to “interfere with the testimony of Quebecor Media’s CEO [Mr. Peladeau]in front of the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on access to information, privacy and ethics.”
The company, whose assets include the Sun newspaper chain and the Vidéotron cable television firm, says the text alleges Quebecor Media is hiding information from the public or being less than truthful in its reporting or public statements.
Quebecor Media is also demanding the CBC publish an apology and reprint Quebecor Media’s news release on its website.
In a blistering broadside aimed at the CBC and its French-language counterpart, Radio-Canada, on Thursday before the committee, Mr. Peladeau accused the broadcaster of deliberately withholding information subject to access laws requested by reporters in his media chain.
Quebecor, through its TVA private television network, is a major competitor of the CBC and takes issue with the $1-billion-a-year the public broadcaster gets in taxpayer funding.
Mr. Peladeau told the committee the access requests have been rebuffed with a series of delays, exorbitant research-fee demands, complaints and a dearth of information on how the CBC manages public funds.
CBC-Radio-Canada spokesman Marco Dubé said in an email response: “We are not surprised. We’re analyzing the letter and we’ll respond in due time.”