Bailouts and political favors cannot build a viable media culture


Commentary

You wouldn’t expect the Justin Trudeau administration and Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch to dance to the same tune, but if this week’s hearings on Canada’s latest media bailout plan go well, 2 People are creating storms.

According to proponents of Canada’s Online News Act (Bill C-18), the Australian media baron’s dismantling of online web giants Meta and Google has already saved the newspaper industry from the ground up. And once this country passes the law, it will be a job, a job, a journalist’s job.

Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next, a US-based trade and lobbying organization, flew from Washington, DC to Ottawa to attend the House Heritage Committee on Sept. 27. Dr. Michael Geist, Canadian Research Director for Internet Law at the University of Ottawa, has declared Australia’s rules to be a crushing victory for journalism on the spread of misinformation. He’s a web dominator and he’s gone home. In terms of lobbying, it was a spectacular performance.

All Canada had to do, he assured his listeners, was to follow a Murdoch-inspired model in Australia. That’s what Canada is trying to do.

The problem is that it’s the Australian Newscorp that dominates Murdoch’s market (he also owns The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, The Dow Jones, Harper Collins, The (UK) Sun, The Times, The Sunday Times, etc.). ), but I am having trouble finding evidence that these latest subsidies are sufficient.

After all, the first $119 million in annual tax credits that Canada’s newspaper industry squeezed out of taxpayers in 2019 didn’t create more jobs. Sure, the pandemic was a problem, but there were additional subsidies for it. If you don’t want to believe me, take Jamie Irving, president of News Media Canada, a trade group that lobbies for online loot.

“The financial pressures facing the Canadian press are becoming increasingly acute due to the current market failure,” he wrote to Commons’ Finance Committee earlier this year. , we project an annual loss for the industry of about $500 million annually.”

that’s a big number. And that’s after $119 million, his $50 million over five years for local journalism initiatives, and the $75 million a year Canadian Periodicals Fund that has been in place for decades. It seems that.

Now, even if Canadian news industry lobby groups, including the CBC, Bell Media, and other broadcasters, could squeeze $500 million a year out of the pockets of Mark Zuckerberg and Google, they would do the best they could. That is to be the break-even point. So I don’t have a job yet.

It’s true that both Facebook and Google were bullied by Murdoch and his Australian partners to close the deal – at least for now. The details of the deal are likely confidential, but the amount involved is $200 million he continues to withdraw. I think this is fueled by Newscorp’s global strength. But let’s say it’s true. And let’s say his $200 million in Australia turns into his $300 million in Canada. What happens after that? Well, CBC gets richer. Bell will get richer, and most government-sanctioned news outlets, according to Irving’s projections, will still be short of hundreds of millions of people a year. And the more they seem to depend on politicians and web giants, the less readers trust them. I will come back in search of

According to Meta, there isn’t much evidence that the Down Under deal has done anything other than line up in Murdoch’s and others’ pockets.

“A portion of the revenues that publishers make from our commercial contracts is used to pay down debt and issue distributions to shareholders,” Mehta said in a 12-month review of Australia’s news media bargaining code. “In fact, some companies have cut journalism jobs after the law was passed and an agreement was reached.”

Some have argued that jobs were actually created, but News Media Canada did not mention jobs in its presentation to the Heritage Commission.

Do not know. But we know that we are not building a viable industry or media culture based on bailouts, subsidies and political favors. to build it. For news media, it promotes innovation, entrepreneurship, independence, accountability, culture, and between publishers and readers that what they read is the truth, the whole truth, and so many You have to build trust that you are not the soft left that people stand for. Famous.

The Trudeau administration is already moving toward regulating the internet in order to enrich one class of approved creators at the expense of another. And it plans to crack down on speech that it and certain classes of people disapprove of, at the expense of others. It looks like

Views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Epoch Times.

peter menzies

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Peter Menzies is a Senior Research Fellow at the Macdonald Laurier Institute, an award-winning journalist, and former Vice-Chairman of the CRTC.