Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A letter the National Post won't publish

Re: Government to the newspaper industry’s rescue? No thanks, Feb. 6

I have been nominated by Terence Corcoran for an award he calls the Most Pompously Wrongheaded Argument for a Government Bailout of the Newspaper Industry. My nomination cannot stand, however, because I am actually opposed to government subsidies for Canada's press. Mr. Corcoran quoted me from a CBC panel discussion as pointing out that Scandinavian countries are highly ranked for press freedom despite subsidizing their press, but he ignored the following quote: “I have to agree with Lorne [Gunter], that most self-respecting journalists would not want to see government funding.” Mr. Corcoran is also incorrect when he states that the 1969 Davey commission on the media proposed a Press Ownership Review Board that would have issued licences and guidelines. The Davey report made no mention of licensing, which is anathema to press freedom. The proposed Press Ownership Review Board, similar to one in the United Kingdom, was to approve – or, more likely, disapprove – newspaper sales or mergers. Such a board’s basic guideline, according to the report, would have been that “all transactions that increase concentration of ownership in the mass media are undesirable and contrary to the public interest – unless shown to be otherwise.” Mr. Corcoran’s opinions might carry more weight if he could get his facts straight.

Marc Edge
University Canada West

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