The Gleaner
Opinions

Joint declaration – Online News Act (C-18)

Local information remains accessible!

Have you noticed that Facebook and Instagram content is less interesting and less rigorous of late? META, the company that owns these two popular social networks, has decided to block access to all news from all media, including local and regional media. Many of you may be wondering, and rightly so: why such a drastic, no-holds-barred measure without any exceptions?

Last June, the Canadian Parliament passed Bill C-18, which requires digital platforms to negotiate agreements to pay a royalty to news organizations, including our local and regional media, with the goal of supporting Canadian journalism and the accuracy of information.

Following the adoption of Bill C-18, META refused to negotiate the royalties to be paid. Instead, the company is blocking access to information sources. Users can no longer share news from local media on their own social networks. Australia, which introduced such a regime in 2021, also experienced the same kind of strategy.

As if that weren’t enough, it’s now impossible to find your favorite local media page on Facebook or Instagram. This pressure tactic is as disproportionate as it is irresponsible. The presence of local media is essential to our daily lives. Our local stories, successes, and issues need to be professionally reported by a strong, well-funded, local press. We must collectively find a way to financially support those who report on daily life in our region. The revenue imbalance between the web giants and our local media can be resolved: this is the main objective behind Bill C-18.

Faced with these tactics from the web giants, Citizens can stay connected to local news and encourage local media companies. We know you value the work of journalists in our region; please continue to rely on them and refer to them, directly on our respective websites, to access a local press that reflects who we are.

The vitality of local media also depends on the communities they serve: let’s show that we are supportive, interested, and engaged.

 

Claude DeBellefeuille, MP for Salaberry-Suroît

Julie Voyer, CEO of Gravité Média

Jessica Brisson, assistant publisher, Néomédia Vaudreuil-Soulanges / Valleyfield;

Chantal Bédard, general manager, Csur la télé – TVC Vaudreuil-Soulanges

Marie-André Prévost, owner, Viva Média

Nathalie Descoteaux, manager of community relations, NousTV (Cogeco)

Hugh Maynard, publishing director, The Gleaner

Janick Tétreault-Moise and Emilie Niquette, co-owners of INFOSuroit

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