Gathering the news isn’t easy. It takes time, effort, and a genuine desire to inform people about what’s happening in their communities (and the world) and how it impacts them. To put it simply, knowledge is power, and that’s what news organizations give to the populace.

But here’s where it gets disturbing – tech giants like Google and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) plan to block Canadian news from their platforms in protest of a new law (Bill C-18) requiring them to compensate media organizations for hosting this content. Like bullies in a sandbox, they don’t want to pay, so their answer is to block readers from viewing Canadian news on their sites. It’s not like they can’t afford to pay since they rake in billions of dollars every year; they (Mark Zuckerberg and friends) just don’t like being told what to do. 

Bill C-18 – the Online News Act – sounds like a legitimate law that sets the framework for fairly compensating Canadian media outlets for their news that benefits everyone.

The federal government is trying to help the Canadian news industry that continues to suffer from decreased ad revenue and ailing subscription numbers, which have led to many closures of newspaper offices in this country,

Meta’s and Google’s knee-jerk reaction to Bill C-18 will result in a travesty, not in justice, but in social awareness by denying people the right to be informed. Isn’t the hard work of Canadian journalists worth paying for? Apparently not.

Black Press newspapers have responded by publishing blank (false) front pages as part of a public awareness campaign to inform readers of the fallout. On the bottom of these pages it states, “You won’t lose access to local news.” The campaign goes on to say that Canadian media outlets aren’t going anywhere since they are here to stay in their commitment to report the news. 

If Meta and Google don’t appreciate what we do, don’t sweat it, because we aren’t. We’re going to continue giving you the power of knowledge, and we hope you will support us by getting your news directly from our websites. You can add us to your phone’s home screen to get easy access to community news every day.

We’re the little guy trying to survive in a world of tech companies that have grown way too powerful, rubbing their hands all the way to the bank to deposit their digital advertising profits.    

It’s time that Canadian news businesses receive the recognition they deserve in keeping the public duly informed and strengthening democracy for all.

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Lyonel Doherty, editor