Quebec Solidaire proposes media fund to support local information
Quebec Solidaire has put forth a proposal to establish a Media Fund aimed at addressing the ongoing media crisis and ensuring the sustainability of local, regional, and national news outlets. This initiative is championed by Vincent Marissal, Member of the National Assembly for Rosemont, and Ruba Ghazal, Quebec Solidaire's Communications spokesperson. Their proposal comes in response to what they view as a government indifferent to the media crisis and amid concerns regarding the reactions of tech giants, including Meta and Google, to the new federal Bill C-18.
Vincent Marissal, a seasoned figure in the journalism industry with more than three decades of experience, has stressed the importance of finding sustainable solutions and a long-term vision for Quebec's beleaguered media landscape. He remarked, "Faced with the unprecedented crisis facing our news media in Quebec, we need sustainable solutions and a real long-term vision."
The core components of Quebec Solidaire's proposal for the Quebec Media Fund are as follows:
Financial Assistance for Quality Journalism: The proposed fund's primary purpose would be to provide financial assistance to media outlets committed to producing high-quality local, regional, and national news content that aligns with recognized industry ethics standards. This support would be extended to news disseminated through any medium.
Funding from GAFAM Tax: Financing for the fund would be drawn from a portion of the revenues generated by a new tax applied to the turnovers of GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Meta). The estimated annual contribution from this source amounts to $75 million.
Independent Decision-Making: To ensure impartiality in the allocation of funds, a board of directors independent of government influence would oversee the process. This governance structure mirrors existing bodies such as the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Quebec and the Fonds de recherche du Quebec.
Ruba Ghazal emphasized the unique vulnerability of Quebec's distinct French-language media ecosystem in the face of powerful digital giants from the United States. Ghazal articulated the urgent need for healthy local and national media to preserve a thriving democracy in Quebec, saying, "In a healthy democracy, we need healthy local and national media, especially in our particular context."
The roots of this proposal trace back to 2020 when former Quebec Solidaire MP Catherine Dorion initially introduced the idea of creating a Media Fund during the parliamentary commission on the future of media in Quebec.
As the Quebec government continues to grapple with the evolving media landscape and the threats posed by digital behemoths, the proposal for the Quebec Media Fund emerges as a potential lifeline for the province's journalism industry, offering a glimmer of hope for a sustainable future.