Tell the Senate to stand up for public trust in news media.
It is not an exaggeration to say that the Canadian news sector is facing extinction. For years, foreign tech giants like Google and Facebook have been funding their platforms by selling ads against news content created by Canadian journalists, hoarding the profits it generates without paying a single cent in return. Without advertising revenues to help sustain them, Canadian news outlets have been decimated. Meanwhile, strong and credible journalism is rapidly being replaced by misinformation and distrust in the news media.
In fact, trust in the media is at an all-time low.
Bill C-18, The Online News Act, currently being studied in the Senate, is a step in the right direction. This new legislation would compel online platforms to pay their fair share for Canadian news content by entering into compensation agreements with Canadian news outlets.
But as written, this bill allows the details of these agreements to largely remain in the dark. This lack of transparency could open the door for foreign big tech companies to exert undue influence over the journalistic and editorial independence of Canadian publishers, which would only deepen the crisis of confidence in our news media sector.
For credible journalism to persist in Canada, and remain a cornerstone of our democracy, it is imperative that we retain public trust in our news media.
Without it, strong, reliable reporting risks being lost in a deluge of toxic and divisive disinformation, which erodes our ability to stay informed and engaged in public life.
That is why FRIENDS is advocating for public disclosure requirements in Bill C-18. Basic public knowledge of which platforms compensate which news outlets, to what extent and in what way, is the best safeguard to prevent any inappropriate influence. It’s also our best chance at ensuring public confidence in this bill as well as the Canadian news organizations who will be impacted by it.
At this critical juncture for our news media, we cannot afford to adopt legislation that places corporate privacy above public disclosure.
So today, we’re asking for your help.
Tell the Senate to support FRIENDS’ amendments to Bill C-18 and stand up for public trust in news media. Write to senators today!