The dangers behind massive media bailouts

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In the wake of the Quebec government’s recent announcement of nearly $6 million in additional funding for 155 media outlets, questions arise about the implications of subsidizing traditional media.

With over $9.5 million allocated in the last fiscal year, the shift in focus from pandemic relief to ongoing support reflects the challenges faced by legacy media amid changing audience preferences and biased coverage.

Recent job cuts, including 547 at Quebecor and 300 at TVA Group, underscore the struggles faced by traditional media giants like Pierre Karl Péladeau’s empire and Bell, both implementing significant downsizing efforts. 

As subsidies pour in, the future of legacy media comes under scrutiny. Should they be left to reassess their strategies independently?

Independent outlets like Rebel News, untouched by government funding, tackle stories others might shy away from, raising a crucial question: What’s the limit of subsidies Canadians are willing to provide for struggling media?

According to Éric Duhaime, leader of the Conservative Party of Quebec (CPQ), there’s a significant risk associated with government subsidies. Reflecting on past events, he highlighted the case of Radio X in Quebec City, whose criticism of the government during a crisis led to a withdrawal of government advertising, almost causing the station’s demise.

Duhaime emphasizes:

It’s a huge problem because there’s a huge risk of who is going to get the money and how. In Quebec, it’s the traditional media that is getting in on this. The new media, the alternative media, is getting nothing.

So the youth is getting nothing. We’re subsidizing media that are already on the decline. And in Ottawa, it’s even scarier because the $600 million right now, we don’t even know if, for example, CBC will get a chunk of it.



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