company_name = Canwest Global Communications Corp.
company_type = Public (tsx|CGS tsx|CGS.A)
foundation = (1974)
location = Winnipeg, Manitoba
key_people = Leonard Asper - President & CEO
industry = Communications & Media Services
products = Publishing
revenue = decrease$2.87 billion USD (2007)
net_income = increase$279 million USD (2007)
num_employees = 2,171 (2008)cite web |url=;CGS&page=quotesearch|title=Company Profile for CanWest Global Communications Corp (CA;CGS) |accessdate=2008-10-07]
homepage = []

Canwest Global Communications Corp. (tsx|CGS, tsx|CGS.A), operating under the corporate brand Canwest, is one of Canada's largest international media companies. The company's head office is situated in Winnipeg, Manitoba at Canwest Place.


* Global Television Network, a Canadian television network which reaches over 94% of the English-speaking population of Canada;
* E!, a second system consisting of six smaller-market stations; however, through repeaters and cable television it reaches the majority of major Canadian markets. The "E!" name is licensed by the American channel of the same name, which also supplies some programming;
* specialty services including TVtropolis and various digital services;
* the former Southam newspaper chain, which includes the number-two national newspaper "National Post", the broadsheet daily newspapers in most major markets, and several other smaller newspapers. Canwest is Canada's largest newspaper publisher;
* production, distribution, and Internet assets such as Canwest Entertainment and, one of Canada's largest Internet portals
* Mobile Video Productions, providing production trucks for use throughout North America

In the United Kingdom, Canwest owns two radio stations called "Original 106" although these are now up for sale. They formerly owned Original 106 Aberdeen which has now been sold. It has also once held interests in Ulster Television, the ITV1 franchise in Northern Ireland.

In the Republic of Ireland Canwest owned and operated TV3 but sold the company in 2006.

Until 2007, it had also held shares in New Zealand's MediaWorks NZ (TV3, C4, and a number of radio networks and stations). They have since divested their shares to local companies. CanWest also owns a majority of Ten Network Holdings Limited, parent of Australia's Network Ten.

On January 10, 2007, it was announced that Alliance Atlantis would be acquired by a consortium of Canwest and Goldman Sachs, with Canwest expected to take control of the broadcasting portion of the company, and Goldman Sachs to keep or spin off the Entertainment and Production, and Motion Picture LP divisions. This would include the stake in the lucrative franchise.

Canwest also runs the annual CanSpell National Spelling Bee, started in 2005.

Corporate governance

Board of directors

Current members of the board of directors of the company are: David Drybrough, Leonard Asper, David Asper, Gail Asper, Lloyd Barber, Derek Burney, Robert Daniels, Paul Godfrey, Frank King, and Lisa Pankratz.

Former members of the board of directors of the company include: Izzy Asper and Frank McKenna.

Concentration of power

Canwest is often cited as an example of how the ownership of Canadian media has become concentrated in the hands of a few individuals and large corporations. Canwest founder Izzy Asper was known as a strong supporter of both Canada's Liberal Party and Israel's right-wing Likud party, and of many laissez-faire policies in both countries. Observers have suggested that Asper's political views have had a significant impact on news coverage at CanWest media outlets. For example, in 2002, "Ottawa Citizen" publisher Russell Mills was fired by Canwest after the paper published a series of articles exposing a financial scandal involving then Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.

Canwest's power in the marketplace is reflected in a new contract that freelance contributors must sign. Until recently, standard industry practise was that freelancers sold the rights for one time use and only in Canada. Canwest now requires that freelancers sign over all rights "throughout the universe in perpetuity".

In response, the company's supporters often cite the alleged power of the federal government over both the broadcast regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), and another major media conglomerate, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (although both entities are intended to be at arms-length from the government and from each other).

Editorial controversies

Since the 2000 acquisition of the major former Canadian newspaper holdings of Conrad Black's Hollinger International (now Sun-Times Media Group), including Canwest News Service, opposition has been expressed by some journalists, union spokespersons, politicians, and pundits about Canwest's enforcement of its corporate editorial positions. A 2001 decision to run regular uniform national editorials in all metropolitan dailies (except "National Post"), whereby local editorial boards could not take local positions on subjects of national editorials, ignited major national controversy and was subsequently withdrawn.

Conflict over Canwest editorial control and policy has focused in particular on three issues:

* The Liberal Party of Canada. Since Israel Asper's leadership of the Manitoba Liberal Party, the Asper family has been identified with Liberal politics and politicians. In July 2001, Southam national affairs columnist Lawrence Martin, was fired after a column of his critical of Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien was not published. Russell Mills, longtime publisher of "The Ottawa Citizen", was fired in June 2002 after the newspaper called on Chrétien to resign. However, as of 2006, at least one Asper family member (David Asper) is now publicly supporting the Conservatives. []
* The government of Israel and conflict in the Middle East. Veteran "Montreal Gazette" reporter Bill Marsden has said that the Aspers "do not want any criticism of Israel. We do not run in our newspaper op-ed pieces that express criticism of Israel and what it is doing." [] Citation broken|date=June 2008 In 2004, the Reuters news agency protested after Canwest altered newswire stories about the Iraq war and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, such that Reuters felt it had inserted Canwest's own bias under Reuters bylines. The changes were apparently made in accordance with a Canwest policy to label certain groups as terrorists. [] Citation broken|date=June 2008
* Canwest editorial control and management itself. In December 2001, 77 staff at "The Montreal Gazette" signed a letter and launched a web page [] Citation broken|date=June 2008 opposing the national editorial policy, and the reporters among them participated in a byline strike, refusing to sign their names to their stories in the newspaper in protest. Management responded with a gag order. The next year, several journalists left "The Halifax Daily News" over similar conflicts, and ten journalists at "The Regina Leader-Post" were reprimanded or suspended after a byline strike to protest censorship of coverage of a speech in Regina by "Toronto Star" columnist and Canwest critic Haroon Siddiqui.
* Upon acquiring Southam's Newspapers from Hollinger International, Israel Asper continued Conrad Black's policy of 'blacklisting' influential Canadian world and military affairs journalist Gwynne Dyer's internationally published articles. This antipathy was prompted by Dyer's views on conflict in the Middle East and his opposition to neoconservatism, which run contrary to the ideological views of Asper and others on Canwest's board of directors then and today. Partially as a response to this, Dyer published a collection of his articles on the Middle East and related topics called "With Every Mistake" in 2005.


External links

* [ Canwest website]
* [ Who Owns What: CanWest Global Communications] (Columbia Journalism Review)
* [ CanWest Watch]
* [ Focus on CanWest] (TNG Canada/CWA)
* [ CanWest Global International Holdings]
* [ Canada's largest internet portal]
* [ CRTC chart of CanWest Global Communications' assets] (PDF)

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