OTTAWA, Feb. 14, 2018 /CNW Telbec/ - Representatives of Canadian print media are marking Valentine's Day by organizing a day of love for news. The Fédération nationale des communications (federation of the CSN trade union) has presented the Trudeau government with an open letter signed by thousands of people and public personalities, reminding it that urgent action is needed quickly to support a sector that is in trouble but that is still essential to a sound democracy.
The FNC-CSN expects the federal government to put its stated intentions into practice and introduce concrete measures in its next budget to halt closures and job losses.
"The brutal decline in advertising revenues puts untenable pressure on print media," CSN vice-president Caroline Senneville pointed out. "It's a basic trend since 2009. Even though print media are trying to adjust to the digital context and are succeeding in taking their place on the web, it is hard to produce quality news with less and less revenue."
In Ottawa, staffers from a number of daily papers met with MPs and senators in Parliament. At the event, Pascale St-Onge, president of the FNC-CSN, gave the government a petition asking for urgent financial support measures and reiterated the organization's demands.
"We have proposed various potential solutions to the government, like payroll tax credits or a reform of eligibility criteria for the Canada Periodical Fund so as to create a new component open to daily papers in particular," Pascale St-Onge said at a press briefing. "We have met several times with the government and we hope that it grasps the scope of the crisis and the urgency of taking action right away."
The FNC-CSN, which represents about 6,000 employees in the communications and culture sector, considers that it is necessary to come up with solutions that ensure a sustainable future for news in the current digital context.
Stéphane Giroux, president of the Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec (FPJQ), was also present to deliver the message. "We can't afford more job losses or more media closures. News is not just a product like any other, and the Trudeau government has a responsibility to support free and diversified journalism, because it is essential to a healthy Canadian democracy," he emphasized.
All those present want to put pressure on the federal government before it brings down its next budget. Vincent Marissal, former journalist, thinks that the government must also tackle the problem of unfair taxation. "This is an on-going problem and works to the advantage of web giants like Facebook and Google, which are in direct competition with Canadian media for advertising revenues. We mustn't bury our heads in the sand: the Trudeau government must act on this issue as well, since these companies are still not taxed on an equal footing with local companies, giving them a huge advantage," he said.
SOURCE Fédération nationale des communications (FNC-CSN)
For further information: Pierre-Luc Bilodeau, Communications representative, FNC-CSN, (514) 216-2017