A tag day for journalism.

It should be admitted up front that this writer is a news junky. With a career in public relations and politics, I believe in the independence of CBC/Radio Canada and I have been known to pester the Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). A strong, independent news media makes for a strong nation.

But I am concerned about the Trudeau government promising some help for journalism in Canada. It makes you wonder if we have any pennies to burn.

It also makes me wonder if we really need to support a millionaire such as Pierre Karl Péladeau and his Journal de Montréal or PostMedia’s Paul Godfrey?

And do we really need to listen to John Honderich of the Toronto Star crying the blues about the state of Canadian journalism? It makes a good two-hanky cry until you realize he just made a deal with the Paul Godfrey to close down another bunch of local papers in Ontario.

The news media is a business Mr. Prime Minister. We know you do not understand how business works but the worst thing you can do for a failing business is to throw money at it. What business needs is customers. And if they do not know what to do with customers, they are not in business anyway.

The best thing we can do to promote good business is to level the playing field. That means we need to change some of the rules for the Internet. I know that it is hard to understand but it is important to recognize that sophisticated system is also a business. Maybe a bit more complex, but still a business. Like any business operating in Canada, this Internet business has to pay its taxes. The free ride has to end.

We have to remember that news is a commodity and somebody has to pay for it. If it is being paid for by advertising, we have to tax the advertising. If advertising crosses the border into Canada, it can pay Canadian taxes. Those clicks on the Internet are not free, If Google gets rich on Canadian advertising, then they better pay their way. Same with Facebook and all that other so-called social media.

And while you are at it, that stuff on Netflix that crosses the border and earns money is building up a substantial bill from us. Please go get it paid.


Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

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