Canada: Bill compelling digital media giants to share revenue with news orgs tabled in parl

Called Bill C-18, it will be the Online News Act once passed, and that is a likely outcome as it enjoys broad support cutting across party lines. The bill was presented in the House of Commons on Tuesday by Canada’s Minister of Canadian Heritage Pablo Rodriguez.
A police vehicle drives past Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Bloomberg)
A police vehicle drives past Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Bloomberg)
Updated on Apr 06, 2022 05:48 PM IST
Copy Link

TORONTO: The Canadian government has tabled a legislation in parliament that will compel digital media giants to enter into revenue sharing agreements with news organisations.

Called Bill C-18, it will be the Online News Act once passed, and that is a likely outcome as it enjoys broad support cutting across party lines.

The bill was presented in the House of Commons on Tuesday by Canada’s Minister of Canadian Heritage Pablo Rodriguez, and he tweeted, “A free and independent press is essential to Canada’s democracy. We’re asking tech giants to fairly compensate publishers and journalists for their work and to contribute to the sustainability of local, independent news in Canada.”

Among the digital behemoths that the bill will impact are Google and Meta, the parent company of Facebook.

A release from the government said the bill will ensure “fair revenue sharing between digital platforms and news outlets.”

It provides for collective bargaining by news outlets and promotes “voluntary commercial agreements between digital platforms and news outlets, with minimal government intervention”.

However, in case such deals are not reached, it “establishes a mandatory arbitration framework where digital platforms and news outlets cannot reach commercial agreements” with the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) functioning as the regulator.

During a press conference in Ottawa, Rodriguez said the bill was necessary as the “news sector is in crisis” and outlets and journalists “must receive fair compensation for their work. It shouldn’t be free”.

Spokespersons for Google and Meta were cited by Canadian media as stating they were reviewing the proposed legislation.

According to government data, 450 news outlets have closed in the past year, while Google and Facebook have earned 9.7 billion Canadian dollars ($7.75 billion) and accounted for 80% of the online advertising revenue pie.

News Media Canada, which represents over 500 print and digital outlets, welcomed the measure.

In a release, its chair Jamie Irving said, “This approach has been a shining success in Australia, where publishers large and small are inking meaningful content licensing agreements.”

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Anirudh Bhattacharya is a Toronto-based commentator on North American issues, and an author. He has also worked as a journalist in New Delhi and New York spanning print, television and digital media. He tweets as @anirudhb.

Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon.

    In dire warning, UN chief says oceans in state of ‘emergency’

    A long-delayed conference on how to restore the faltering health of global oceans kicked off in Lisbon on Monday, with the head of the UN saying the world's seas are in crisis. "Today we face what I would call an ocean emergency," UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres told thousands of policymakers, experts and advocates at the opening plenary, describing how seas have been hammered by climate change and pollution. Humanity depends on healthy oceans.

  • An aerial view shows the damage to the roof of adjacent buildings after a tornado ripped through the southwestern seaside city of Zierikzee.

    Rare tornado kills one in Netherlands

    A tornado ripped through a southwestern Dutch city on Monday, killing at least one person and injuring seven others in the first fatal twister to hit the country for three decades. The whirlwind left a trail of destruction through the seaside city of Zierikzee, blowing the roofs off homes and toppling trees onto cars, an AFP journalist at the scene said.

  • Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky (on screen) addresses G7 leaders and representatives of the European Union during their working session at Elmau Castle, Germany, on Monday.

    ‘As long as it takes’: G7 backs Ukraine

    The Group of Seven nations on Monday vowed to stand with Ukraine “for as long as it takes”, promising to tighten the squeeze on Russia's finances with new sanctions that include a proposal to cap the price of Russian oil. The G7 countries said they had also pledged or were ready to grant up to $29.5 billion for Ukraine. “It's useless to hope for decency and humanity from Russia,” Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote on Telegram.

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (right) during a meeting with Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, in Schloss Elmau, Germany on Monday. (ANI)

    India-Canada ties: Modi, Trudeau hold talks at G7 summit

    India Prime Minister Narendra Modi held his first in-person bilateral meeting with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau in over four years in Germany on Monday. A tweet from India's prime minister's office noted the two leaders “took stock of India-Canada friendship and discussed ways to further strengthen it across various sectors”. This was the first time they held such discussions sitting across from each other since Trudeau visited India in February 2018.

  • Smoke rises from a shopping mall hit by a Russian missile strike in Kremenchuk, Ukraine, on Monday. (REUTERS)

    G7 countries plan to impose ‘price caps’ on Russia’s oil exports

    In a move that may have an impact on the terms of the growing Russia-India energy partnership - India has enhanced import of Russian energy since the war in Ukraine began as energy prices spiral - the G7 countries are considering imposing “price caps” on Russia's oil to dilute revenue inflows to Moscow. The West has alleged that these inflows are helping Russian President Vladimir Putin finance the war in Ukraine.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Tuesday, June 28, 2022