Publishers Renew Call for Government Action Against Google/Facebook Monopoly

·3-min read
  • Fiscal Update Announcement a Strong First Step

  • Action Needed Now to Avoid US-Style "News Deserts"

Canada’s news media publishers today applauded the Government of Canada for standing up to giant internet companies in Monday’s Fiscal Update, and renewed their call for the government to take action to level the playing field for Canada’s local newspapers in dealing with the Google and Facebook monopoly.

"The government is taking an important step in applying the same tax rules to these US-based web giants that all other companies operating in Canada must obey," said Jamie Irving, vice-president of Brunswick News Publishing company BNI and Chair of News Media Canada’s working group.

"We renew our call to them – and all parties in Parliament – to take the next step and adopt the Australian solution – outlined in our October report, Levelling the Digital Playing Field – to curb Facebook and Google’s monopoly abuses against local news."

The News Media Canada report details the way in which Google and Facebook use their monopoly powers in Canada to scoop up 80% of online advertising revenues and to distribute newspaper content without compensation. The government in Australia – with support from all parties in Parliament – is putting in place a comprehensive solution that resolves the same problems – without resorting to tax increases or user fees. Canadian publishers are calling for the same solution.

Canada’s news publishers pointed to an alarming new United States Senate Report to illustrate the urgency of the situation for local news.

"Unless the government steps in to enforce fair competition, Google and Facebook will do in Canada what they’ve done in the United States," said Irving. "In October, while we were issuing our report, the United States Senate also issued its own report describing how the two companies – using the exact same tactics that they use in Canada - have helped put more than 2,000 local newspapers – more than a quarter of all papers published in the US – out of business over the last 15 years, creating ‘news deserts’ across wide swaths of America."

The Government of Canada announced in its Speech from the Throne of September 23rd that, "The government will act to ensure their revenue is shared more fairly with our creators and media, and will also require them to contribute to the creation, production, and distribution of our stories, on screen, in lyrics, in music, and in writing."

News Media Canada is calling on the government to tackle the web giants and adopt the Australian model in Canada.

The CEO members of the following companies are leading the discussions with the government of Canada including Glacier Media, Black Press, Torstar, Postmedia, Globe and Mail, La Presse, Quebecor and Brunswick News.

About News Media Canada

News Media Canada is the voice of the print and digital news media industry in Canada and represents hundreds of trusted titles in every province and territory. News Media Canada is an advocate in public policy for daily and community media outlets and contributes to the ongoing evolution of the news media industry by raising awareness and promoting the benefits of news media across all platforms. For more information, visit our website at www.newsmediacanada.ca or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201201006064/en/

Contacts

John Hinds, President and CEO
jhinds@newsmediacanada.ca