Trudeau Liberals largely exclude CBC from Google’s $100 million media bailout

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Canada’s state broadcaster will only receive a sliver of Google’s nine-figure payment for sharing the online news of Canadian publishers.

According to new regulations outlined by Bill C-18, also known as the Online News Act, CBC and Radio-Canada will be limited to $7 million in the first year — given that taxpayers already fund them at a rate of $1.2 billion annually.

Of the remainder, 30% will go to government-approved broadcasters and 63% to newspapers and digital media platforms, reported the National Post.

Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge lauded the regulations Friday as “extremely good” for Canadians, democracy and media.

“Today marks the last day of the government’s work in implementing the Online News Act,” she said. 

When asked why the federal government did not exclude the state broadcaster entirely, St-Onge said it didn’t “make sense” to take such a drastic measure.

“To exclude the public broadcaster completely, I believe, and the government believes, would have devalued its essential role. But we set the cap at seven per cent because we are taking into account the realities of the private market,” she added.

Google spokesperson Shay Purdy told the National Post they are happy Ottawa addressed most of their concerns in the regulations. However, they contend the Act is still “fundamentally flawed.”

While Bill C-18 urges tech giants and social media platforms to reach commercial deals with Canadian publications, Google applied for an “exemption” that permits a single agreement with eligible media companies. The controversial legislation only applies to Google and Meta, given their annual global revenue exceeds $1 billion with at least 20 million Canadian users. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters he does not expect a resolution with Meta, which barred the sharing of Canadian news on its platforms in August.

“Unfortunately, Meta continues to pretend like it doesn’t have a role to play in the protection of our democracy, but we will continue to work with them because we find that journalists who work to keep people informed […] should be compensated for their work,” he said.

Google is expected to launch a 60 day “open call process” next year to identify which media and broadcasters to fund.

The approved companies will then designate a single organization to distribute the funds, amounting to roughly $17,000 per journalist they employ. 

Courtesy of the regulations, the $100 million lump sum will go to companies based on government caps, and the number of “full-time equivalent employees engaged in the production of news content.”



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