- Montreal Gazette
- 29 Mar 2017
- ANDY RIGA Twitter.com/andyriga
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard holds a copy of the 2017 provincial budget, which includes $36 million over the next five years to support local and community print media.
The provincial government is throwing a lifeline to struggling newspapers, but some of the details of its plan are fuzzy.
Quebec will provide $36 million over the next five years to support local and community print media, Finance Minister Carlos Leitão said in his budget speech.
“The existence of a lively, diversified and high-quality print media sector is crucial for the vitality of our culture, but also for the health of our democratic way of life throughout Quebec, and particularly in the regions,” Leitão said.
A coalition of Quebec newspapers has appealed for government help.
With the rise of the Internet and social media, print media outlets have been hit with a dramatic decline in advertising and subscriptions, resulting in layoffs of journalists and a reduction in news coverage.
In his 2017 budget, Leitão said Quebec will set aside $24 million over five years for the “digital transformation of information print news.” The money will go to two “assistance programs.” One will “strengthen the local and regional information disseminated by community media.” The other, aimed at bigger media outlets, will “support and encourage print news companies to overhaul their business models and focus on digital technology.” Quebec’s culture minister is to announce details of the assistance program “at a later date.”
The government will also reduce by $12 million over four years the amount newspapers have to pay to subsidize municipal recycling programs.