Bill on communication platforms | According to Google, biased news sites could be funded

(Ottawa) Google is warning the federal government that its online communications platforms plan could force the company to subsidize biased news sites like Russia’s Sputnik.

Posted at 10:49 am

Mary Woolf
The Canadian Press

However, News Media Canada, the association that represents hundreds of print and digital titles, notes that the law’s wording is specific and specifically excludes websites promoting an organization.

According to Google, the definition of a legitimate news source is so vague that a company with two or more journalists could be eligible to receive funding from telecom giants even if subsidized by a foreign state.

Inspired by Australian legislation, this bill aims to support the information sector in Canada and combat the spread of false news from unreliable or biased sources.

Bill C-18 would force giants like Google or Meta to pay for the use of news produced by Canadian media organizations. It would also prohibit them from “acting in any way that unfairly discriminates against the company or accords an improper or improper favor to any person or entity — including themselves.”

Google claims that this could affect the sorting system for messages in its search engine and the way content is moderated.

Google spokeswoman Lauren Skelly says the company “could face hefty fines for presenting and enforcing the most useful and trustworthy content in Canada [ses] own policy.

Mme Skelly says the telecom giants support the bill’s principle but worry about its unintended consequences, including the need to subsidize companies that flout journalistic standards.

Like two people building a digital news site in their basement, foreign news agencies with an office in Canada, or extremist sites.

“We want to believe that this is not the aim of parliamentarians. We hope to work with them to address these concerns,” said Fraume skelly

News Media Canada President Paul Deegan said the bill was carefully drafted.

“It’s a very good bill that specifically excludes news media that promote an organization’s interests rather than produce original content of general interest,” he adds.

Mr Deegan points out that the bill would allow small publishers to join forces and negotiate content deals with the big telcos. “We are calling on all elected officials from all parties to work together to get this legislation passed quickly before the summer recess. »

The Ministry for Heritage reminds that “it is not the role of the government to decide what a news medium is. »

He argues that the bill “establishes an objective list of criteria outside of the political process to define a medium,” adding that a free and independent press is essential in a democracy.

Under the bill, a qualifying company must be a qualifying Canadian journalists’ organization within the meaning of the Income Tax Act, or produce news content that focuses primarily on matters of general interest and regularly employs at least two journalists in Canada.

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