Dear Maren,

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez recently announced the government’s latest attempt to regulate Canada’s Internet; Bill C-18, the Online News Act.1 There’s a real crisis behind C-18 — the drying up of advertising funding that supported news organizations in the 20th century. But C-18’s solution is a disaster, making news financially INDEBTED to BIG TECH.2

Quality journalism must always be fully independent but Bill C-18 ‘fixes’ the problem of news funding through a convoluted system that makes news producers increasingly dependent on online platforms and a secret government news approval system, threatening their critical role in holding these powerful bodies accountable.

This is a perfect example of the right impulse, but the wrong execution. We CANNOT allow all news organizations in this country to become shills to Big Tech. We’re about to launch a brand new campaign to fight back against C-18 but we need your support NOW to ensure it gets in front of as many faces as possible. FAST.

Will you RUSH a donation right now? If every person who received this email invested just $25, it would allow us to paper the internet in ads calling for change.

Following a similar model adopted in 2021 in Australia, the government is attempting to threaten online platforms into ‘voluntarily’ giving news organizations money, rather than plainly laying out new obligations for them directly.3 Under Bill C-18, online platforms and qualified Canadian news organizations will have 6-12 months to reach SECRET, PRIVATE DEALS to pay those organizations. There’s tremendous scope in these deals for Big Tech platforms to give sweetheart deals to the types of news organizations they like, while negotiating hard with those they see as problems.

Bigger picture, this is still a form of the Link Tax4 — putting a financial cost on platforms every time anyone shares news. When you make it costly to spread quality news, you’re discouraging platforms from spreading quality journalism over rumours and misinformation, raising real concern about the net impact of C-18.

Canada needs more quality journalism, not less. Will you stand with us as we fight back? 

This is going to be a fight measured in years, not weeks, and we need your sustained support to ensure we have the long term strength to push back in every government meeting and consultation, and our concerns are raised in every news article, and public panel. 

Will you become a monthly ally? For just $15/month you allow us to make change that lasts longer than a news cycle.

Thank you for standing with us.

For a safe and free Internet for everyone,

Matt from OpenMedia, 

P.S. A free online pressis what allows us to speak truth to power and call Big Tech corporations to account. Don’t forget to donate today to help fight for freedom of expression in Canada.

Sources

  1. First Reading of Bill C-18. Parliament of Canada
  2.  Just How Extreme is Bill C-18?: It Mandates Payments For Merely Facilitating Access to News. Michael Geist
  3.  Canada looks to improving Australia’s model for helping news publishing. Policy Options.
  4. What’s wrong with the Link Tax? (an FAQ). OpenMedia.