Feds give $50M to fund local news

The Federal government announced Wednesday that it will be allotting $50 million over five years to support Canadian journalism.

One or more non-governmental organizations will be tasked with divvying up the cash to media in underserved Canadian communities, for the purposes of covering local news.

The NGOs would be wholly responsible for deciding how the funding is allocated, as to address concerns of state-controlled media.

“The organizations will have full responsibility to administer the funds, respecting the independence of the press,” reads the budget.

The Canadian Media Fund, which finances Canadian broadcast content, will also get a $172 million boost from the feds, which will be spread out over several years. The money will go to cover declines in private funding since Canadians have cut back on cable subscriptions.

The government will also be exploring opening up charitable status to media companies. This would allow companies to give out tax receipts to donors.

The budget stopped short of granting subsidies for advertising on Canadian digital platforms, as has been the practice in print and other measures asked for by Unifor, media companies and other organizations.