It’s a test of Ottawa’s often-declared commitment to local journalism.
And it could mean life or death for many news outlets bringing local news to residents across Canada.
On Thursday, News Media Canada called on the Canadian government to follow Australia’s lead and level the playing field for Canadian news agencies against American tech giants who benefit from Canadians’ news.
In its September speech from the throne, the government recognized the problem. “Things have to change and will change.”
But there is no time to waste.
New Media Canada is a lobby group made up of print and digital publishers including the company, the Toronto Star, the Hamilton Spectator, the Waterloo Region Record, the St. Catharines Standard, the Welland Tribune, the Niagara Falls Review, and the Peterborough include auditors. She wants the government to allow a model to help journalists fight the “monopoly practices” of American companies. Other members include Brunswick News, Glacier Media, Black Press, Globe and Mail, Post Media, La Presse and Quebecor.
Google and Facebook now generate around 80 percent of digital advertising revenue in Canada. “Media companies are forced to obey their rules and they can pay us what they want,” said Jamie Irving, vice president of Brunswick News Publishing and chairman of the News Media Canada working group.
Canadian publishers are looking to Canada to adopt the Australian model as the countries are similar in many ways, Irving said.
It won’t cost taxpayers anything. If the federal government approves the plan, publishers can form a collective bargaining unit to negotiate compensation for the use of their content and intellectual property.
Most Canadian newspaper companies want this. And most Canadians rely on local news.
It’s not just that readers want to keep up with local events, although this is important for any healthy community. They know that real news – news that can be trusted – takes time, consideration, and resources.
It’s not cheap.
Responsible Canadian news consumers know who, without local journalists covering local events and issues, who is going to do it? And they know that fewer journalists work in Canada every day. Our democracy is at stake.
“It costs money to publish real news,” says Irving, “and Google and Facebook – two of the largest companies in the world – cannot continue to drive freely on the backs of Canadian news media publishers who produce news content without fair compensation.” . As the federal government indicated in September, now is the time to take action against the global web giants. “