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Case study in the political economy of the mass media

          The sale of Alliance Atlantis Motion Picture distribution arm, otherwise also known as the MPD to Goldman Sachs has been rising many comments by famous Canadian directors and actors who believe it is unfair for the biggest picture distribution to be allotted in the hands of a foreign firm. This will pose a big problem to the Canadian Movie industry as the foreign firms will be interested in distributing movies of their own rather than promoting Canadian movies in their own country.

          This situation is similar to begging where the Canadian film producers will have to beg the distributors in their own country to run their movies, which is undoubtedly unfair. Furthermore, the federal government’s 1988 film distribution policy allows only 30 percent of ownership to the foreign distributors. Here, we have Goldman Sachs who currently goes for 51% partnership giving the essential position to the foreign firm as Goldman Sachs is United States of America based…

          Identifying the issue above, it is obvious that the Canadian film industry will have to undergo huge losses as government fails to do anything to stop the foreign distributors from buying a major proportion of the film distributing companies. The largest known

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film distributor in the region, Alliance Atlantis Motion Picture was up for 51% ownership from Goldman Sachs and there have been claims stating that it has already been sold to the American-based buyer.

          The government policy was actually responsible for the rise in the Canadian film popularity that highlighted only 30 percent ownership to foreign distributors. Based on this government policy, the film makers were able to mark an identity of their own. However, things began to change recently and the consequence of the change was obvious when the largest Canadian film distributor was found to be on sale for foreign take-over. With powerful existing film studios such as Fox, Paramount and Disney, there was no scope or space for the foreign distributors to look out for Canada. The identity of Canadian films today is based on the Alliance Atlantis Motion Picture distribution company that had the strength to even buy films from abroad to run them in their country. The main aim of this distribution company was, however, to promote the Canadian cinema and this took two decades for the Canadians to have their rightful place in the industry.

          Many prominent directors and actors of the Canadian film industry sadly stated that if the largest Canadian film distributor will be taken by the foreign firm, this will allow more foreign companies to set their own free branches into the country thereby leaving no space for the national film industry to exist at all. This issue is of main concern because the national culture of the country is in jeopardy. The government’s leniency on this matter will create many more foreign firms in the country thereby making the country lose its own identity. Furthermore, the sale of the biggest distributor to the foreign firm meant for the country to lose its own cultural identity. The country’s own identity is lost when ownership is given to the foreign firms. However, Goldman Sachs states that he is willing to comply with the policies of the country by teaming up with a Canadian-based firm for the partnership in order to proceed for the 51% stakeholder ownership.

         The voice against such a foreign ownership was not new with Alliance Atlantis Motion Picture. The incident further caught attention nine months earlier when ThinkFilm to a Californian-based firm. The firm still continues to work within the boundaries of Canada and the Canadian Heritage Minister is knowledgeable regarding the subject but no step was taken either by the government or by the minister regarding this matter. The ease shown by the government might particularly endanger the cultural identity of the country. When foreign firms set up their own identity in the country with a large share, there is hardly anything left for the country or the nation itself to promote itself. As the government fails to do anything about this, more and more companies will ease themselves into the country freely thus giving no space to the Canadian cinema. The incidences are ever-growing and is giving a signal to the foreign firms abroad that the government doesn’t have any objection regarding this matter.

          I personally agree with the government policy and I would like the government as well to abide by it to preserve its cultural identity and not to let any foreign firm take over any national company as it is build on the funds acquired by millions of taxpayers and it would be unfair for the nation to let any of the nation’s foundation into the hands of the outsiders. While foreign investors are most welcome to have their share in the Canadian market of mass media; they shouldn’t be given a large proportion as this will give them greater control of the market thereby giving little control to the nation itself. It would be unfair for any nation to allot a greater control of any media or business to a foreign firm as the foreign firm aims at profits that includes its own and not the country’s. They are not interested in the nation’s profit but their own and thus, it wouldn’t be such a good idea to proceed with any proposal plan that gives a major control to the outsiders. While globalization is the current trend of the business today, preserving one’s national identity is of a greater concern and should be looked into as an important matter.

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