Thursday, May 23, 2019

Canada's Liberal government ask news groups to name panel to decide eligibility for journalism aid

The federal government has named the eight Canadian organizations that will sit on a special advisory panel tasked with recommending news operations for participation in a $600 million media support fund.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced in his fall economic update that the federal government would make $600 million in tax credits and incentives available to selected media outlets over the next five years.

An independent panel of experts was to be tasked with naming the eligible news organizations and assisting the government in implementing the measures.

"Today, we are reaching another milestone toward the implementation of these tax measures that aim to support Canadian journalism and journalism in under-served communities," said Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez.

The eight associations that have been asked to select a representative to sit on the independent panel by the middle of June are: News Media Canada, the Association de la presse francophone, the Quebec Community Newspaper Association, the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada, the Canadian Association of Journalists, the Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec, Unifor and the Fédération nationale des communications.

According to a statement released by Rodriguez's office, the panel members will be expected to consult with third parties and industry stakeholders before reporting back to the minister's office by late July.

In his fall update, Morneau announced some details of the $600 million program to help Canada's news media organizations — many of which have been struggling with diminishing revenue and falling readership numbers.

Under the program, news media organizations are eligible for refundable tax credits, a non-refundable tax credit for subscriptions to Canadian digital news and access to charitable tax incentives for not-for-profit journalism.

Rodriguez also named the seven organizations representing different segments of the news media which will be responsible for administering an additional fund of $50 million over five years to help regional media outlets.

The seven local organizations are: News Media Canada, Association de la presse francophone, the Quebec Community Newspapers Association, National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada, Community Radio Fund of Canada, the Canadian Association of Community Television Users and Stations, and the Fédération des télévisions communautaires autonomes du Québec.

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