Written press: urgent assistance sought from the next federal budget

News 15 February, 2018
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    Maxime Huard

    Wednesday, 14 February 2018 13:45

    Wednesday, February 14, 2018 17:36

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    OTTAWA | the “unprecedented Crisis”, “the point of no return”, “danger in delay”… stakeholders in the media world have craved Wednesday, the Trudeau government to grant substantial aid to the written press in its next budget.

    “There’s a lot more to lose by leaving newsrooms close, that, in refusing to intervene,” argued the president of the Fédération nationale des communications (FNC), Pascale St-Onge, Ottawa press conference.

    The trade union organization, which was launched on the occasion of Valentine’s day a day of action for the sake of information, deplores the fact that 43 % of the jobs related to the written press have disappeared in Quebec from 2009 to 2015.

    The group turnover to $ 270 million annual aid that the federal government should be granted to the written press in the country, and this, in the form of a tax credit on the payroll. It also calls for the expansion of the Canada Fund for periodicals, which supports the magazines and non-daily newspapers.

    The federal inflexible

    The next federal budget will be tabled in two weeks, on Tuesday, February 27. In the meantime, the ministry of Finance refuses to speculate on the specific measures that are present there.

    For his part, the minister of Heritage, Mélanie Joly, reiterated Wednesday, as it has for months, that the government is open to helping local media and to support the transition to digital, without, however, funding models that are more viable.

    Instead of prioritize Netflix, Google, and Facebook who refuse to submit to the tax laws in canada, Ottawa should be treating the press as an essential public service, considers the grouping.

    “The government’s approach to the giants of the web we are mystified,” said the former journalist and senior director at TACT Intelligence-conseil, Vincent Marissal.

    The FNC would like to hand the government a letter signed by more than 7000 citizens. The document, published in the media in November, requested the federal “urgent measures to ensure the future of an information journalistic quality in the country.”

    It is perfectly possible for the government to support the press without undermining its independence, has been argued by the president of the Fédération professionnelle des journalists du Québec (FPJQ), Stéphane Giroux, recalling that the practice was common in the european countries.

    Ndp mp Pierre Nantel has deemed “deplorable” attitude of the federal report to the media by then “it offers a privileged access to web giants and their lobbyists.” “Journalism is in need of our support, regardless of the platform”, he argued.

    The output of the group occurs in the aftermath of the abolition of 13 posts at the Toronto Star, a newspaper owned by Torstar. The chairman of the board of directors of the media group, John the honderich, has explained in an interview with the Globe and Mail that his company was struggling for its existence.

    Confidence on the rise

    Despite the uncertainty of the threat, the newsrooms, the media enjoy a good trust rating among the canadian population, finds a survey released Wednesday.

    In its annual survey entitled the Barometer of confidence, the public relations firm Edelman has noted a 10% increase in confidence in the media among the citizens.

    This year, 61 % of those surveyed reported trusting media, as opposed to 51 % last year. Trust in the journalists, it is 43 %, an increase of 17 % compared to last year.

    The study was conducted online from October 28 to November 20, 2017 with 1,500 Canadians.