Home LATEST NEWS HIGH TECH Digital giants must pay the media, says Minister Pablo Rodriguez

Digital giants must pay the media, says Minister Pablo Rodriguez

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Mr Rodriguez is consulting with opposition parties on bringing forward a bill inspired by Australian legislation requiring tech giants to pay for news content on their platforms.

The minister said that a bill was a top priority for him and that he was moving quickly to present it.

He said there was now a critical situation that needed to be resolved in the news industry in Canada.

Hundreds of newspapers and other news outlets have closed in Canada and the bulk of ad revenue now goes to two digital companies, he said.

Over the past 15 years, about 450 news outlets have closed. If you only go back to February 2020, 63 of these outlets have closed. We must therefore act. I would say there is a crisis in the Canadian information system. »

A quote from Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez

Mr. Rodriguez believes that the shutdown of Canadian media meant that our democracy has not become stronger, but weaker.

We have to make sure that we have a system where we will have an independent, strong and free press. We must protect and ensure that Canadians have access to professional, impartial, neutral and non-partisan information, he added.

The NDP urges the government

Last week, NDP MP Peter Julian wrote to Rodriguez accusing the government of dragging its feet. In his letter, he argued that digital giants such as Facebook and Google have embezzled the advertising revenue on which our media is financed.

Peter Julian at a press conference

NDP MP Peter Julian

Photo: The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick

Mr. Julian told The Canadian Press that the New Democratic Party would be willing to work with the Liberal government to pass a law based on Australian law.

The NDP MP said quick action is crucial during the pandemic, as Canadians base important decisions, such as whether or not to wear a mask, on the disinformation present on digital platforms, rather than unbiased reporting by journalists.

Mr Julian believes that making tech giants pay for information, as in Australia, would be an important first step to rebalance the situation and help keep local media alive.

Protect the independence of the press

Facebook, now known as Meta, initially responded to Australian law by blocking information from that country on its platform before reaching a deal with the government.

Meta, which funds reporting grants to The Canadian Press, said it would not comment on Canada’s bill until it saw a draft.

The company said that over the past four years, it has invested nearly $10 million in partnerships and programs to encourage and support the development of sustainable business models for news organizations, print and broadcast, across the country. Canada.

Pablo Rodriguez seated in front of Canadian flags.

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez

Photo: The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld

Mr. Rodriguez maintained that there was a general consensus on the fact that Australian law was fair, adding that there will be things that are uniquely Canadian in the bill he plans to introduce.

I think this [sera] fair to everyone on all sides and will protect the independence of the press and allow us to have a free press. »

A quote from Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez

google impatient to work with the government

Lauren Skelly, spokesperson for Google Canada, said the information is vital to a thriving democracy and in the heart Google’s mission to make universally accessible and useful information.

Ms Skelly feels that some aspects of the Australian system were impassable.

Canada has the opportunity to create a world-class internet policy that strengthens the news industry and we look forward to working closely with the government to help achieve this goal., she argued.

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