Quality news matters to Canadians; it helps us make informed decisions and hold our leaders and companies accountable.1 A healthy mix of diverse outlets across the political spectrum, local outlets, community papers, and international news is critical to staying up to date on the world and making democracy work.
But is the Online News Act currently up to the task? No. Here’s a few areas it gets the balance wrong:
Who benefits? Right now, most of the funding goes straight into the pockets of large broadcast media like Corus, Rogers and the CBC. Newspapers? Minority players. Local news that’s already disappeared? Zero help. Startup outlets? Not included. Effective news support should be concentrated on where news is fast disappearing, not on broadcast outlets that don’t need the help.2,3
What about press independence? As written, Bill C-18 hands enormous power to Big Tech and to the CRTC to secretly shape the type of news that gets made in Canada. News organizations enter into secret deals with platforms to get funding; there's no public reporting on who receives funds, how much they’re receiving, or why some groups wind up approved while others are rejected.4 That’s not good enough. Transparency about who’s funding the news and how they reached their deal is vital for the public to maintain trust in the news industry.5 Any legislation must ensure that eligibility decisions are made publicly, transparently, and without government or platform pressure.
The Senate is our second shot at fixing Bill C-18 and keeping our news free, independent, and diverse. Sign our petition to ensure the next version of C-18 supports the news YOU want and need!