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Letters

Local News is becoming a rare commodity

Problem: Small town media and media in general are finding their existence threatened by a lack of revenue, interest in investing in local media and maintaining skilled journalists.

Whether in the Caribbean, Canada, US or most anywhere sources of financial investment are turning away from small town media as a place to invest in. What is required are attitudes of long term investment approaches while financial institutions are determined to turn over their investment, searching for immediate profitability – something that never happens within the media environment.

Small town newspapers online will be one of the only ways Canadians will be able to find their stories and news about their communities.

The Federal Government’s Online News Act, known as Bill C-18, approved just last week in Ottawa, is essentially forcing companies like Google, Facebook to pay Canadian Media Firms copyright fees when their content and feeds appear on the large firms platforms, regardless of who is sharing it.

Meta, the parent firm behind Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp has said they will block all Canadian news stories published by Canadian outlets from their feeds. Google is going to do just that as well.

Canadian journalism and the public’s access to news is under attack due to the reaction of these Tech Giants. Ottawa has informed the Tech Giants of their intentions, attempting to protect and generate funds for media in Canada.

Journalism is under assault from all corners, from the business sector which can and does lay off thousands of employees at a whim, showering their shareholders with false profitability, limited media coverage and media coverage on a shoestring.

Related:  Is the Private Sector trustworthy?

All the while the Tech Giants cheery pick from small media catalogues willy nilly. Future mergers of media giants in Canada may be the only way to save written news.

Ultimately there is no security for individuals who work for the media. These very Media and Tech Giants cry foul as the CBC is funded by the Federal Government to the tune of a Billion Dollars+, and The Conservatives call for divestment of the CBC will surely be a further blow to independent news coverage in Canada.

The Federal Government’s actions have taken the media’s future prospects to an entirely new level of uncertainty. Can independent small news outlets survive the onslaught of corporate manipulation? Can a truthful, objective media thrive in Canada?

The most important factor in survival is neither intelligence nor strength, but ADAPTABILITY. Can local media adapt before it is too late? Where can they find the funds necessary to continue their sacred profession?

History shows us that democracy cannot exist or survive without the assistance of an objective, active media.

Town Hall City Criers don’t exist anymore, and yet people see it as nostalgic. Will the future bring us multiple media coverage that looks and says the same thing, manipulated and presented by multi-national corporations with their own expectations and goals. Profit replacing “THE TRUTH”.

Steven Kaszab
Bradford, Ontario