Newspapers Fear Job Losses and the Reduction of Accountability for Quebec Municipalities
QUEBEC CITY, Feb. 22, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - In its response to Bill 122 on municipal governance, the Coalition pour la pérennité de la presse d'information au Québec (coalition to ensure the long-term survival of print news media in Québec - "the Coalition") expressed its concern for the future of the media and of democracy and asked that the Quebec government maintain the obligation for municipalities to publish public notices in printed newspapers. Spokespersons for the Coalition will be heard at a Parliamentary Commission on Wednesday afternoon and will table a brief on the state of print media in Quebec.
The President of Groupe Capitales Médias and co-spokesperson for the Coalition, Claude Gagnon, declared: "In an era when the population expects nothing less than full transparency from its public authorities, newspapers play a leading role. Public notices from municipalities are among the tools at the disposal of citizens to know how their tax dollars are spent. Anything that makes public notices more difficult to find is an attack on transparency and democracy itself. Parliamentarians must withdraw sections 51 and 90 of Bill 122."
Brian Myles, Director of Le Devoir and co-spokesperson of the Coalition, is surprised by the government's intention to take away this essential source of revenue for Quebec newspapers: "Quebec municipalities spend more than $18 billion per year if you add up their budgets. Public notices represent an aggregate cost of around $10 million in total, or about 0.05% of municipal spending. In the current context of the media, it would be irresponsible to imperil our newspapers for a sum that is insignificant for municipalities but essential to the survival of newspapers. We estimate that at least 100 quality jobs will be lost if the government pushes forward with these sections of Bill 122", declared Mr. Myles.
Richard Tardif, who represents the Quebec Community Newspapers Association, a group of 31 independent English-language publications, reminds the government that, with declining advertising revenues and with giant foreign-owned digital companies controlling most of the online advertising budgets, many newspapers have already been closed and that all those that remain have reduced their newsroom staff. "It is clear that the public's right to information is threatened by Bill 122 and this is the worst possible time to take away another essential source of income for newspapers", said Mr. Tardif.
About the Coalition
The Coalition pour la pérennité de la presse d'information au Québec is composed of: daily newspaper Le Devoir; Groupe Capitales Médias; Hebdos Québec; the Quebec Community Newpapers Association (QCNA) and TC Transcontinental. The Coalition represents 178 newspapers that inform 6.5 million Quebeckers each week – or 80% of the population of Quebec.
Download our brief on Bill 122 (in French) at: www.coalitiondelapresse.quebec
SOURCE Coalition pour la pérennité de la presse d'information au Québec
For further information: or for an interview: Gilber Paquette, Executive Director, Hebdos Québec, firstname.lastname@example.org, C : 514-910-4899