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

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Chris Paulson of Burns Lake took a quick selfie with a lynx over the weekend of Feb. 20-22, 2021, after the wild cat was found eating some of his chickens. (Chris Paulson/Facebook)
VIDEO: Burns Lake man grabs lynx by scruff after chickens attacked

‘Let’s see the damage you did, buddy,’ Chris Paulson says to the wild cat

Northern Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Brucejack mine, 65 km north of Stewart on Feb. 11, 2021. (Pretivm Photo)
Northern Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Brucejack Mine, 65 kilometres north of Stewart on Feb. 11, 2021. (Pretivm Photo)
Northern Health reports 20 more COVID-19 cases in outbreak at Brucejack Mine

So far, 42 people have tested positive, nine cases are active and self-isolating onsite

Fisheries and Oceans Canada released it's 2021 Pacific Herring Integrated Fisheries Management Plan Feb. 19. (File photo)
Northern herring opportunities kept to a minimum

2021 management plan caps Prince Rupert fishery at 5 per cent

A collaborative genomic research project is underway to map the movements of 118 Northwest sockeye populations to better inform management decisions on at-risk stocks. (File photo)
Genomic study tracks 118 Northwest B.C. sockeye populations

Development of new tool will be used to help harvesters target healthy groups

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

Most Read