CMG welcomes new legislation to level the playing field in Canada’s news landscape; urges quick implementation
The union representing thousands of Canadian journalists and media workers, welcomes the Online News Act which will ensure tech giants compensate Canada’s newsrooms for reusing their reporting and production work.
The Canadian Media Guild (CMG) says the current system where Facebook, Google and other platforms use, but do not pay for, journalism work, has been highly destructive for the news media industry.
“Tech giants don’t pay for material they reuse and make a profit from, they also take 90% of the available advertising dollars,” said CMG National president, Carmel Smyth. “This has been devastating for news production, leading to reduced coverage across the country and the loss of thousands of jobs. The new legislation addresses that imbalance.“
Smyth says Heritage Minister, Pablo Rodriguez, did the right thing by acting quickly and by including all news producers: legacy and online, small and large, private and public like CBC/Radio-Canada.
“This legislation is one of the key solutions the CMG and other concerned Canadians have been advocating for to help deal with the financial crisis in news media.“ She said the union is urging Ottawa to ensure the new framework is implemented as rapidly as possible, and expects media companies to use the new compensation to boost news production.
In commenting on the new legislation, the union’s CBC Branch president, Kim Trynacity noted it’s particularly important that CBC/Radio-Canada be included.
“The public broadcaster plays a central role in Canada’s news ecosystem, as a trusted news and information provider nationally, in every province and in dozens of communities across the country,” she said.
“We’ve seen successive cuts to CBC/Radio-Canada staff and programming over the past decades, even as recent events, at home and abroad, have reminded us how vital the public broadcaster is in providing quality news services to Canadians regardless of where they live, or which official language they use. This is even more necessary during a global pandemic, a siege in Ottawa or an invasion in Europe.”
Trynacity added it will be critical that any agreement between CBC/Radio-Canada and online platforms be open and transparent, and the benefits should be reinvested into producing original Canadian news and programming.