Liberal government tables legislation to force online giants to compensate news outlets_freckle removal grow back

Liberal government tables legislation to force online giants to compensate news outletsThe federal Liberal government introduced legislation Tuesday to force digital giants to compensate news publishers for the use of their content.

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Bill demands that companies like Google and Facebook pay news businesses to use their content

John Paul Tasker · CBC News(Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

The federal Liberal government introduced legislation Tuesday to force digital giants to compensate news publishers for the use of their content.

The new regulatory regime would require companies like Google and the Meta Platforms-owned Facebook — and other major online platforms that reproduce or facilitate access to news content — to either pay up or go through a binding arbitration process led by an arms-length regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

The compensation extracted from these digital giants must be used, in large part, to fund the creation of news content to protect the "sustainability of the Canadian news ecosystem," according to a government backgrounder distributed to reporters.

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The government is pitching the arrangement as a way to prop up an industry that has seen a steady decline since the emergence of the internet.

According to government figures, more than 450 news outlets in Canada have closed since 2008 and at least one third of Canadian journalism jobs have disappeared over that same time period.

News businesses have struggled to make money from their content after losing major revenue streams, such as classified ads and print subscriptions.

In an era of cord-cutting, some private and public broadcasters also have struggled to monetize their airwaves and pay for local, regional and national radio and TV news.

The dominance over advertising once enjoyed by legacy media is over. Google and Facebook have a combined 80 per cent share of all online ad revenue in Canada and rake in an eye-popping $9.7 billion a year, according to government data.

'News deserts'

The loss of advertising revenue has upended previous media business models. Thousands of Canadian journalists have lost their jobs and some communities have become "news deserts" — without access to newspapers, digital news sites, TV or radio programming.

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez said Canada's news businesses should be compensated for helping Google and Facebook attract eyeballs.

"The news sector is in crisis," Rodriguez told a press conference Tuesday. "Traditionally, advertising has been a major source of revenue for the news business. That's less and less the case. I would say the reality is grim."

Google and Facebook use news content on their sites "without really having to pay for it. With this bill, we're seeking to address that market imbalance," Rodriguez said.

"News outlets and journalists must receive fair compensation for their work. It shouldn't be free."

Rodriguez also presented the program as a way to combat the recent wave of disinformation and misinformation coming from questionable sources. He said a faltering fact-based news industry allows for other, less credible outlets to emerge, which could lead to "heightened public mistrust and harmful disinformation in our society."

WATCH: Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez introduces bill to compensate news outlets

Canadian heritage minister outlines bill to make online giants compensate news outlets

6 hours agoDuration 2:29Minister of Canadian Heritage Pablo Rodriguez says the Liberal government is introducing legislation to force digital giants to compensate news publishers for the use of their content.News|Corrections and Clarifications

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