John Hinds, CEO of News Media Canada (formerly Newspapers Canada) reads an email from PayPal at his office in Toronto on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. Hinds called it “scary” after PayPal froze his organization’s payments account over a weekly newspaper story about a Syrian refugee family in Manitoba. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel

John Hinds, CEO of News Media Canada (formerly Newspapers Canada) reads an email from PayPal at his office in Toronto on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. Hinds called it “scary” after PayPal froze his organization’s payments account over a weekly newspaper story about a Syrian refugee family in Manitoba. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel

LETTER: It’s time for Canadian politicians to ‘level the digital playing field’ for news

‘Google and Facebook… control the onramp to the internet highway in Canada’

We have a very serious situation in this country, and we are delighted to hear that Minister of Heritage Stephen Guilbault said on Monday that the government is preparing legislation to force tech giants to fairly compensate content creators.

Google and Facebook, two of the richest companies in history, control the onramp to the internet highway in Canada. They decide what we as a sovereign nation see and don’t see in the news. To make matters worse, they use the news produced by Canadians and don’t pay for it.

Meanwhile, all Canadian news media companies, big and small, are suffering for two reasons:

First, they don’t get paid for their content by Facebook and Google; and

Second, Facebook and Google take over 80 per cent of all Canadian digital advertising industry revenue. These massive American companies receive virtually all of the revenue and don’t pay for content. Movie content doesn’t work that way in Canada. Music content doesn’t work that way. TV show content doesn’t work that way. So why is news content treated differently?

We only have to look south of the border to see what happens when real news companies disappear, and social media platforms distribute divisive, fake news.

We need to support healthy, independent, diverse news companies as the backbone of our democracy.

This is urgent. It’s a fact that news companies across Canada are struggling while COVID-19 impacts are accelerating the decline. Journalism jobs are disappearing.

That means real news keeps disappearing and hate and fake news will fill in the void. Let’s not let this happen in Canada.

But there is good news. Australia has figured out the solution. They created a law that forces the tech companies to pay fairly for news content. This costs the taxpayer absolutely nothing.

We encourage all Members of Parliament to move quickly. Canada needs your leadership.

John Hinds is the President and CEO of News Media Canada

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Four young women prepare to model Magic Wand dresses at a fashion show. Magic Wand provides grad dresses and tuxedos for a nominal fee. (Submitted File Photo)
Nominations available for Cindrella Dreams Program in Vanderhoof

New organizer excited to help graduates with formal wear

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising 5 years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

District of Vanderhoof municipal office. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Vanderhoof district rejects FOI request for business name

Officials will release more information about the restaurant on May 21

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply on 5th anniversary of overdose emergency declaration

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

Richmond RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng said, in March, the force received a stand-out number of seven reports of incidents that appeared to have “racial undertones.” (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
‘Racially motivated’ incidents on the rise in B.C’s 4th largest city: police

Three incidents in Richmond are currently being invested as hate crimes, says RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng

Commercial trucks head south towards the Pacific Highway border crossing Wednesday (April 14, 2021). The union representing Canadian border officers wants its members to be included on the frontline priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine. (Aaron Hinks photo)
CBSA officers’ union calls for vaccine priority in B.C.

Border officers at ports including, YVR and land crossings should ‘not be left behind’

A still from the video taken of a violent arrest on May 30, 2020 in downtown Kelowna. (File)
Kelowna Mountie charged with assault for caught-on-camera violent arrest

Const. Siggy Pietrzak was filmed punching a suspected impaired driver at least 10 times during an arrest

A screenshot from a Nuu-chah-nulth healing song and performance created in collaboration between Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso. (Screenshot from YouTube)
VIDEO: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation brothers produce COVID-19 healing song

Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso share dance and inspiration.

Most Read