A discharge ordered by the Liberal government on how to fix Canada’s ailing news industry on stand-bies for major tax changes, stripping digital ad revenue from the CBC and the creation of major government-supported funds to support newsgathering.
The 12 sweeping recommendations from the Celebrated Policy Forum, a think-tank, follow months of consultations and research into the towering disruption of traditional business models in the news industry by digital parvenues.
The report warns that democracy is imperilled by the collapse and disappearance of habitual newspapers, as small digital suppliers of Canadian news struggle to seal the gap.
“Never have Canadians had access to more information,” says the $270,000 write up, financed largely by two federal departments.
“But the capacity to produce original announcement, particularly of a civic nature, is severely constrained by the unsolved riddle of how to finance the outlay of journalism in the digital age.
“While fake news takes just moments to build compensate up, real news often requires days, weeks and even months of regard probe into and verifying.”
Bulk the recommendations is a significant change to the tax law that would prevent Canadian advertisers from removing costs if they place ads in non-Canadian digital services, such as Google and Facebook. That’s surmised to produce a federal revenue stream of up to $400 million annually.
The information also calls on Ottawa to enforce sales taxes on digital front-page news and information suppliers who may be located outside Canada, but who sell subscriptions to Canadian chaps.
Proposes changes to CBC, CP
CBC’s mandate would be revamped to forbid the corporation, which passages Canada’s biggest news website, from selling digital ads. That’s in array with a recent pre-emptive proposal by CBC management to stop selling all advertising.
The corporation’s dirt and information stories would also be considered public property, handy for use by any news supplier, and the CBC’s mandate would be rewritten to focus more on the job of incriminating Canadians.
To compensate for the loss of local reporters across the country as broadsheets downsize, the Public Policy Forum says Canada’s national wire advice, The Canadian Press, should create a second tier of service costing as much as $10 million annually.
The supplementary service would put between 60 and 80 new CP anchorwomen into city halls, legislatures and courts across the country, and their articles would be available for use without charge by any accredited news outlet.
The rate of this and other new entities being proposed would be covered by an arm’s-length repository created by the federal government, with a startup taxpayer investment of $100 million — and funded in tomorrow years by tax revenues collected under the new advertising rules and a new levy on some text producers.
The fund would also pay up to 75 per cent of the cost of new digital cook ups, and help cover legal costs for smaller digital startups.
Another commendation would tighten copyright rules to prevent original content manufactured by Canadian newsrooms from being used without permission by digital societies.
The report also calls on government to revise charity law to make it easier for non-profit and generous foundations to support newsgathering, as they do in the United States. And a new Future of Journalism & Democracy Bucks would finance the training and hiring of between 60 and 80 Inborn journalists.
Industry not impressed
The proposed changes come as a House of Collectives committee also examines potential solutions to the digital disruption of the expos business. A report expected this spring.
The findings also make it the same week the Postmedia newspaper chain laid off reporters at three of its biggest newspapers.
A spokesman for Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly, who interrogated for the report, said the government is reviewing the proposals along with other consultations near Canadian content in a digital world.
“We anticipate if there were strategy changes to be made following these consultations, it would be later this year,” Pierre-Olivier Herbert hinted in an email.
The head of the Public Policy Forum, former journalist Ed Greenspon, titled the proposed advertising tax changes the core of the report’s recommendations — and it was that suggestion that drew quick criticism from Google Canada, which leave be significantly affected by the change.
“Such measures would be challenging to realize, reduce the competitiveness of Canadian business and may make it harder for smaller hot item publishers to thrive,” Aaron Brundle, head of public affairs, judged in an email accompanied by a flow chart about the impacts.
Greenspon acquiesced that implementing any proposed tax change is fraught because of complex custom rules under NAFTA, now under scrutiny by U.S. President Donald Trump’s government, and under the World Trade Organization.
The recommendations also got a lukewarm social from Bob Cox, publisher of the Winnipeg Free Press and spokesman for Newspapers Canada.
“Unfortunately, I don’t see much in the research to support its stated goal of helping the news media with find outs to strengthen economic sustainability,” he said in an email.
“It certainly outlines the confronts facing traditional news media, particularly newspapers. But the recommendations won’t do much to improve us build out sustainable new business models.”
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