Time for government to invest in community media

Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP Carol Hughes

Kapuskasing –   The government should be using more of its’ advertising budget with community media outlets who ‘play by all the rules’, according to the MP for Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing, Carol Hughes.

Hughes says that campaigns such as the ones to promote safety around cannabis use are leaning too heavily on social media at the expense of local radio and newspapers that still have strong audiences.

“The government isn’t too particular about where it spends its money on these campaigns to the point that it becomes ironic,” said Hughes.  “Consider how the web giants don’t even pay tax in Canada, but they have been leaned on heavily by Revenue Canada to encourage people to pay their taxes!”

Hughes says the money being used for advertising in traditional media has withered while social media spending has ballooned. 

Reports indicate that Facebook alone sold $ 1.3 billion in web advertising revenue in Canada in 2016, but they don’t have to pay a cent of tax on it,” said Hughes.  “It strikes me that the government could use more of its advertising budget to help local media outlets who work within the rules to spread the messages that need to be heard, such as public service announcements.”

Hughes notes that New Democrats have been asking the government to do something to ensure web giants aren’t operating under a different set of rules than everyone else.

“They seem to be content to admit these companies operate in a gray zone,” said Hughes.  “The problem is there’s no follow up and it’s the government’s job to tell these companies what they have to do to operate inside Canada.  That’s not happening”