Le Lézard
Classified in: Business
Subjects: BCY, AVO

Quebec Community Newspapers Association rocked by bankruptcy protection measures for French dailies

GATINEAU, QC, Aug. 23, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ - Publishers across Quebec are alarmed by the bankruptcy protection news from Groupe Capitales Médias this week. Members of QCNA, English community newspaper publishers in Quebec, face a crisis similar to the French dailies belonging to Groupe Capitales Médias.

Local newspaper publishers have alerted levels of government to the growing crisis in news reporting if simple steps are not taken to turn the tide in Quebec and Canadian publishing.

Re-instating government advertising in newspapers is one step in the solution that provides information to the dedicated readers of local newspapers and provides financial assistance to the publishers. Taxing digital media giants is another suggestion that would help level the playing field between small publishers and online social media giants that are both cannibalizing the advertising dollars and reprinting locally-generated news articles.

Furthermore, the inequity facing publishers in matters of fees paid to the Quebec Government for newsprint recycling in itself make newspaper publishing in the province a virtually insurmountable burden. Recycling fees set by the Ministry of Environment, based on recycling numbers provided to Quebec by municipalities, has increased over 1,060 % in the last six years at a time when newspaper readers are conscientiously re-using newsprint to wrap compost waste and other uses, rather than sending it for recycling.

"Wouldn't it be interesting to know the total recycling bill amount for the Groupe Capitales Média newspapers last year? What a wasteful burden," commented QCNA President Lily Ryan. "The government's $5 million loan to the six dailies will help them publish until the end of the year, but what is the government's plan to improve publishing in the province? Readers enjoy print over digital at a rate of about 1 to 5, so the present push to digital doesn't come from Quebec readers, it is a top-down push to web that shows the Quebec Government needs to get in touch with the population."

QCNA members see the possibility of a renaissance in community-focused journalism in minority-language communities. "Readership has not been higher and newsrooms never busier than in the last few years," added Ms Ryan. "Quebecers depend on their local newspapers." 

Ms Ryan adds, "Quebec's commission examining the future of journalism launches next week; its general aim to ensure a strong democracy supported by a variety of journalism sources is attainable with the quick implementation of the suggestions that will be presented at this commission."

SOURCE Quebec Community Newspapers Association (QCNA)

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