If you watched our Ukrainian programming recently– mainly Kontakt and ForumTV (formerly Svitohliad), you saw so many government officials and events featured you’d think they were the ones watching the programs. Well it turns out they do!
The Privy Council Office, the bureaucracy that supports the prime minister, spent $463,300 last January on a two-year contract with the same ethnic media monitoring company that Citizenship has paid almost $750,000 over the past three years.
"We monitor cultural news media to assess the effectiveness of government of Canada communications," Rivet told The Canadian Press.
The reports are shared across the government, he added.
That’s a lot of money to spend just to pay people to monitor newspapers – especially in a time of self-professed ‘austerity’ (if it really even exists) that takes away much needed funding from important areas like science and the environment.
There may be "editorial and opinion that perhaps isn’t always expressed in traditional media," Ziniak said. "If they’re paying attention to that, that’s good.
"If they’re using it towards political means — and no one’s naive enough to think not — then obviously that’s another issue altogether."
The media monitoring firms are given a list of keywords to scour in ethnic media and the results often go beyond news items directly related to the federal government.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s office says the monitoring is done at the discretion of the department.
So the message seems pretty clear: The government is watching you, Ukrainian media. Those press releases better make their rounds and those interviews better be coming… or else?