Bill C-18: Taking your voice to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.
OpenMedia testified to Parliament on the impact of C-18; here’s how it went.
On October 28, OpenMedia testified before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage on the potential impact of Bill C-18. In our testimony, we highlighted the issues that matter to YOU. As it stands, Bill C-18 would promote low-quality clickbait content and disinformation throughout our feeds and search results. To view our opening remarks, click here).
We highlighted our concerns about the extremely broad threshold for news organizations to receive subsidies and promotion under Bill C-18. The Bill offers compensation and promotion for news outlets that qualify for QCJO or a much lower standard. The reality is, C-18’s eligibility requirements are far from perfect. Without proper qualifications for news outlets to benefit from C-18, there is a real risk that click farms and malicious actors could manipulate this system to flood our feeds with misinformation and clickbait content. This would have a detrimental impact on the quality of news Canadians are exposed to. The information we receive changes based on who is writing the news; promoting low-quality and destructive content deteriorates public trust in Canadian journalism.
C-18 subsidies for news go to legacy media outlets first and foremost; The Bill does very little to support small and local news outlets. These outlets are necessary for connecting underrepresented communities to local programming. Many communities have already lost access to primary outlets or to local newsrooms that have been significantly downsized. Bill C-18 will not bring back these outlets; it locks out any new players from receiving sufficient support to compete with legacy media. Diversity in news is necessary for any given democracy; Canadians deserve access to strong and quality news. You can read more about these issues and others we’ve flagged here.
All of this couldn't be done without you. With your support, our community has sent over 9,000 messages to the government on Bill C-18. Your hard work and commitment to keeping the Internet open and protecting freedom of expression shaped our testimony and will play a vital role in the Heritage Committees' analysis and recommendations to the House of Commons on what to do with Bill C-18 moving forward.
The Heritage Committee will wrap up consideration on Bill C-18 as early as next week, and we need to keep up the momentum. If you haven't already, will you email your MP demanding that they fix Bill C-18 to work for strong, quality news?
Already taken action? You can keep up the fight by sharing our message with everyone you know on Facebook, or Twitter!
You can also read our full opening remarks to the committee below:
Image Credit: Christopher Austin licensed under Unsplash License