By Tim Kalinowski on December 1, 2020.
City council has voted to hold a new public hearing on its proposal to reduce print media advertising.
The motion to hold a second public hearing on whether or not to cut back on print advertising in The Lethbridge Herald will allow councillors to officially receive new input from the community prior to coming back to council in January as part of their considerations of the proposed bylaw change.
The motion passed 4-3 with Coun. Rob Miyashiro, Jeffrey Carlson and Mark Campbell opposed. Mayor Chris Spearman and Coun. Ryan Parker recused themselves from the vote.
Lethbridge Herald readers have sent in various emails to councillors, written letters to the editor and submitted other messages to the newspaper over the issue. The Herald also ran five pieces explaining the importance of the newspaper to the community over the past two weeks to various community stakeholders.
By calling a second public hearing, councillors can officially take that information into account in making their final decision on the bylaw.
City council is considering a bylaw change which could have severe repercussions for the viability of The Herald going into an uncertain year in 2021, and which could leave local seniors, in particular, disenfranchised from full, transparent public engagement with city council and the City of Lethbridge.
Under the Municipal Government Act the City is required to advertise by designated print media to ensure all citizens in the community have access to important information regardless of their digital literacy or access. The Herald is the only designated media which can meet the requirements of the MGA in Lethbridge.
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