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Journalism still necessary in Canada: survey





A new survey shows 94 per cent of Canadians feel journalism plays an important role in national democracy.

Commissioned by News Media Canada and orchestrated by Maru/Matchbox’s Angus Reid Forum, the survey was conducted from Feb. 9 to 11, and undertaken online by a representative sample of 1,500 Canadians.

Respondents answered seven questions about journalism, which varied from its role in democracy, to how the federal government could help the news industry and whether the CBC should continue to be funded by tax dollars totalling $1.1 billion.

Bob Cox, publisher of the Winnipeg Free Press and chairman of the Canadian Newspaper Association, said the results show people support a variety of measures to help news media — like including daily newspapers in the Canadian Periodical Fund (which 78 per cent of people supported) and removing obstacles to philanthropic financing of news organizations (which 77 per cent of people supported) — but not a newspaper bailout per se.

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A new survey shows 94 per cent of Canadians feel journalism plays an important role in national democracy.

Commissioned by News Media Canada and orchestrated by Maru/Matchbox’s Angus Reid Forum, the survey was conducted from Feb. 9 to 11, and undertaken online by a representative sample of 1,500 Canadians.

Respondents answered seven questions about journalism, which varied from its role in democracy, to how the federal government could help the news industry and whether the CBC should continue to be funded by tax dollars totalling $1.1 billion.

Bob Cox, publisher of the Winnipeg Free Press and chairman of the Canadian Newspaper Association, said the results show people support a variety of measures to help news media — like including daily newspapers in the Canadian Periodical Fund (which 78 per cent of people supported) and removing obstacles to philanthropic financing of news organizations (which 77 per cent of people supported) — but not a newspaper bailout per se.

"So, basically, again this showed that there is fairly good support for the government to change some things and to implement some measures that would support local news. Nobody likes the idea of a bailout, but, as we’ve always said, we’re not looking for bailout," Cox said.

"We don’t want to bail out a failing industry. We want to support public journalism so we can develop sustainable business models for the long-term."

Other policy recommendations that garnered support in the survey were strengthening copyright laws for newspapers to protect content from aggregators (78 per cent support) and reversing the digital-first strategy for federal government advertising, which would mean doling more money to TV, radio and print (75 per cent support).

"These results send a clear message to elected officials that Canadians, now more than ever, believe that journalism is a crucial part of the democratic fabric of our country," said John Hinds, president and CEO of News Media Canada.

The federal government is currently mulling ways to help news media that are strapped for cash. New policy planks may appear in the next budget on Feb. 27.

jessica.botelho@freepress.mb.caTwitter: @_jessbu


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