MONTREAL, Oct. 7, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - The Quebec Community Newspapers Association (QCNA) has joined a coalition of newspaper publishers in Québec to raise public awareness of the importance of maintaining healthy local print news media, while calling on the Québec government to assist in the long-term survival of print news media in Québec.
The Coalition pour la pérennité de la presse d'information au Québec stated in a press release on September 28, 2016 that it is asking the Government of Québec to rapidly set up a five-year temporary financial assistance plan for the province's newspapers, that includes a refundable tax credit covering 40 percent of the cost of news production, 50 percent of investments in digital, an increase in the government budget for advertising placements and the abolition of the sales taxes (GST and TVQ) on newspapers sold.
"Newspapers are fundamentally good for a community and a democracy," said Richard Tardif, QCNA's Executive Director.
"Newspapers are also a community service and a community institution that many of us believe in, and while the newspaper business is a difficult one right now, the timing is right and it's logical as experienced newspaper people for us to be at the table with the Québec government given the ongoing revision of its cultural policy."
The Coalition comprises the daily Le Devoir, Groupe Capitales Médias, Hebdos Québec,i TC Transcontinental, and now the Quebec Community Newspapers Association,ii bringing the total number of coalition newspapers to 178,iii serving 6.5 million Québecers, or more that 80 percent of the population every week.
Over the last 37 years the QCNA has provided advocacy, government representation, marketing and promotion for Québec's independent English and bilingual community newspapers serving Quebec's English minority. The QCNA also provides possible solutions and establishes partnerships that will benefit members and the association.
The Coalition stated in a press release on September 28, 2016 that it is asking the Government of Québec to rapidly set up a five-year temporary financial assistance plan for the province's newspapers, that includes a refundable tax credit covering 40 percent of the cost of news production, 50 percent of investments in digital, an increase in the government budget for advertising placements and the abolition of the sales taxes (GST and TVQ) on newspapers sold.
The Coalition is also seeking exemption from the contribution payable under the Environment Quality Act, which requires that newspapers help finance the cost of municipal curbside recycling services, something the QCNA feels is detrimental to newspapers.
Since 2006 the annual amount demanded from the Québec government has increased by 1075 percent.iv
Tardif, who sits on the board of directors of RecycleMédias, the organisation accredited by the Government of Québec to represent the province's newspaper owners and associations, has seen the disastrous effects of this contribution.
Between 2006 and 2016, the rate has climbed from $8 to $94 per ton of newsprint.v
"This is forcing owners, many of them small newspapers serving niche communities, to re-evaluate their budgets with few choices but to consider a decrease in qualified staff and less content. The present sales taxes on newspapers sold will have similar consequences."
i Hebdos Québec represents 31 independent French-language weeklies in Québec, with a combined weekly adult readership of 1,493,000.
ii Quebec Community Newspapers Association represents 32 English-language weeklies with a combined readership of 770,000.
iii 170 weeklies and eight dailies, including Métro/Metro.
iv Source: RecycleMédias.
v Source: RecycleMédias
The Quebec Community Newspapers Association English and bilingual publications distribute weekly, biweekly, monthly and daily to some 770,000 English and Bilingual readers across the province. These publications serve an exclusive English and bilingual readership in their communities through their focus on relevant local news and high editorial-to-advertising ratio.
SOURCE Quebec Community Newspapers Association (QCNA)
For further information: Interview requests: Richard Tardif 514-697-6330, Executive Director, Quebec Community Newspapers Association; Steve Bonspiel, 450-635-3050, President, Quebec Community Newspapers Association