July 22nd, 2024

Media groups want regulations implemented in Online News Act

By Lethbridge Herald on June 14, 2024.

Al Beeber

Canadian publishers want the Canadian Radio-Television Commission to create regulations regarding the federal Online News Act to ensure it’s consistent, fair, maximizes newsroom investment, enhances transparency and minimizes misrepresentation.

“With $100 million annually at stake, news publishers want to ensure that maximum amount flows to newsrooms to maintain and grow journalism jobs in local communities across Canada,” said Maria Saras-Voutsinas, Executive Director at National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada in a statement to media. 

“The CRTC needs to make sure that the rules are clear to everyone, and the rules are followed by everyone.”

Various media organizations including News Media Canada and several weekly newspaper associations are calling on the CRTC to institute several regulations.

They include ”ensure consistency and fairness across news businesses by adding specificity to definitions in the Act and regulations.”

This could be achieved by basing the definition of full-time equivalent on a standard work week and apply it to those have worked a minimum 40 consecutive weeks in an eligible news production role for an eligible news business in the previous calendar year.

And employees should be defined as those who have received a T-4 or Releve 1 from a news business in the previous calendar year and based on the federal guidance on the employer/employee relationship.

Other recommended regulations include minimizing administrative expenses to maximize the investment in newsrooms, enhancing transparency and avoiding conflict of interest and minimizing violations and misrepresentations by imposing administrative monetary penalties.

The organizations want the CRTC to validate the eligibility of news businesses and verify the number of full-time equivalent employees prior to payments being made.

They say Google’’s $100 million contribution must be held in trust at a Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation member insitution. 

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