The Coalition for Culture and Media responded favourably to measures to support Canadian journalism announced yesterday by Finance Minister Morneau. For the first time, the federal government seems to have taken note of the scope of the problem. The measures that were announced - $595 million over five years – will certainly help counter the decline of newsrooms and media companies.
The Coalition welcomes the effort by the federal government which, though rather substantial, does not constitute a comprehensive and complete solution to the problem. The questions of regulatory and tax fairness still lie at the heart of the problem. Canadian newsrooms are still being severely threatened by the unfair competition of digital giants.
For example, the Coalition notes that none of the measures announced yesterday will even the playing field on taxation for Canadian media companies competing with foreign media online. In 2017, Internet advertising was estimated to be in excess of $6.2 billion in Canada, 80% of which was scooped up by two American companies – Google and Facebook.
It will take enormous political will to fix laws and regulations to force digital giants to contribute to Canadian content, be it news or culture. Continuous and productive dialogue between the government and the cultural and media sectors will be a must.
The Coalition for Culture and Media was created in 2017 and brings together some 40 organizations active in the cultural and media sectors representing thousands of people across Canada. In its Declaration for the sustainability and the vitality of national culture and media in the digital era, the Coalition calls upon governments to restore fiscal and regulatory fairness, to act with continuity, and to implement effective measures to support national culture and media.