Government subsidies reduce trust in media, legacy commission hears


On Sept. 27, members of the House Heritage Committee were told as they considered Bill C-18 that government subsidies to Canadian news outlets are undermining public confidence in reporters. .

“Bill C-18 will permanently entrench the industry’s reliance on the favor of politicians rather than the loyalty of its citizens, readers and viewers,” said the Canadian Radio, Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). Former Commissioner Peter Menzies said. Committee, according to To BlackRock Reporter.

Menzies, a contributor to The Epoch Times, said trust in the media has “never been lower than it has ever been.”

Referring to the government’s Bill C-18 (Online News Act), he likened it to another government media subsidy, saying it would “increase mistrust and not end well.”

federal government announced A $595 million package to support the media sector in 2018.

Bill C-18 seeks to compel the social media giants to make deals with media companies for revenue sharing as advertising dollars increasingly shift from news media to entities such as Facebook.

In addition to its purpose of helping struggling media outlets, liberals say the bill would “counteract the rise of disinformation by supporting fact-based journalism” and “reduce press coverage from interference by governments or private groups.” I also want to maintain my independence.

“As you know, the Canadian press sector is in crisis, and this has contributed to increasing public mistrust and the spread of harmful misinformation in our society,” said Pablo Rodriguez Legacy. The minister said when he introduced the bill in April.

Menzies, who is also the former editor-in-chief of the Calgary Herald, said the measure could have the opposite effect.

“The more government support the news media receive, the more broken the relationship with their readers,” Menzie said. “The more that relationship breaks down, the more subsidies we need.”

He said he wasn’t sure this attempt to save the outlet would be successful in the long run.

The new law “will keep wolves out the door of some legacy companies for a few more years, but it won’t save journalism,” he said.

“The amount of money involved might spare some people from starvation, but most people would still be hungry, needy and grateful.”

Rodriguez said in April that it was not clear how many outlets would be able to enter into revenue-sharing agreements with digital platforms, and some outlets could be left out.

Janet Agison, publisher of the Vancouver news site The Tyee, also criticized Bill C-18 on the committee.

“Canada is facing not one, but two news crises,” she said. “One is the economic one, the other is the crisis of distrust.”

Speaking on behalf of Canada’s Independent Online News Publishers, Ageson said, “Canadians are expressing an unprecedented distrust of the news and the reporters who carry it.”

She said Canadians need to know how the media is funded and on what terms.

Ageson recommended amending the bill to require mandatory disclosure of all cash payments to publishers, and said the lack of transparency in Bill C-18 was one of its “serious concerns.” I was.

Noe Chartier


Noé Chartier is a reporter for the Epoch Times based in Montreal. Twitter: @NChartierET Gettr: @nchartieret