OTTAWA – CWA Canada, the country’s only all-media union, is calling on the federal government to take urgent action to save local news coverage in the wake of the latest shocking development.
Postmedia and TorStar announced today that they have swapped 41 newspapers, most of which will be shut down to eliminate competition with each other, putting almost 300 people out of work.
CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon called it a “deathblow” to local newspaper coverage and competition after years of such sales, mergers and closings.
“It’s a dark day for local journalism and for local democracy,” O’Hanlon said. “This means fewer journalists reporting on the stories that matter to communities and leaves almost no one to hold local politicians and powerful interests to account in many places.”
O’Hanlon said it’s outrageous that such a sweeping and damaging deal is legal and shows once again why the Competition Act needs to be beefed up.
CWA Canada is urging the federal government to take immediate steps to bolster local news and prevent further devastation. Specifically:
- Provide federal funding, perhaps through the Canada Periodical Fund, to finance or subsidize professional, open-source local news coverage by non-profit news organizations.
- Allow non-profit news organizations committed to local, civic journalism to qualify for support from philanthropic foundations or to become charities.
- Strengthen the Competition Act and regulations to prevent concentration of ownership.
CWA Canada represents about 6,000 media workers at the CBC, The Canadian Press, Thomson Reuters, VICE Canada, and newspapers and other media companies coast to coast.
For more information, contact:
President, CWA Canada