The Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) is among the organizations applauding the passage of Bill C-18, the Online News Act, as Meta confirms it will end news availability on Facebook and Instagram, prior to the Act taking effect.
The bill, which would compel online search engines and social media platforms to negotiate compensation agreements with media outlets for news content, received royal assent on Thursday with a Senate vote of 56 – 22.
The CAB, representing Canada’s private broadcasters, and News Media Canada, which represents the interests of the country’s top publishers, tout the legislation as a sustainability lifeline for news organizations as financial challenges are amplified by the advertising dominance of foreign online platforms.
“This is a positive step in righting the imbalance that exists between Canadian news businesses and the foreign web giants that benefit financially from using their content,” said CAB President Kevin Desjardins, in a statement. “We thank the Minister of Canadian Heritage as well as the MPs and Senators who worked to get Bill C-18 passed, as it will help ensure that our reputable news providers – large and small – can continue to inform their communities.”
While Meta continues testing a product solution that would end news availability in Canada – a vital source of referral traffic for many news outlets – Marla Boltman, Executive Director of public broadcaster watchdog FRIENDS, says she’s optimistic the tech giants will comply with the Act.
“The passing of the Online News Act is an essential step in providing much needed support for Canadian journalism. Compelling foreign tech giants to enter into compensation agreements with news outlets corrects a market imbalance that has threatened the very existence of the Canadians news sector and, by extension, our democracy,” said Boltman. “We wholeheartedly applaud Parliament for getting this challenging bill across the finish line while staring down the barrel of Google and Facebook’s threats to block news in Canada. Our hope is that these foreign tech giants will now abandon their intimidation tactics and show the Canadian democratic process the respect it deserves.”
News Media Canada now has its lobbying sights set on other regulatory hot potatoes, including eliminating advertising on CBC/Radio-Canada.
“With the passage of C-18, we are asking parliamentarians to begin tackling other issues affecting the economics of the news publishing industry,” said Paul Deegan, President and CEO of the organization. “We need to modernize the Competition Act and provide the Competition Bureau with the funding and tools it needs to act upon abuses and anti‑competitive business practices related to online search, search advertising and display advertising services in Canada; support trusted news sources through federal government advertising; and eliminate commercial advertising associated with CBC/Radio Canada’s news and public affairs properties.”
Subscribe Now – Free!
Broadcast Dialogue has been required reading in the Canadian broadcast media for 30 years. When you subscribe, you join a community of connected professionals from media and broadcast related sectors from across the country.
The Weekly Briefing from Broadcast Dialogue is delivered exclusively to subscribers by email every Thursday. It’s your link to critical industry news, timely people moves, and excellent career advancement opportunities.
Let’s get started right now.