Liberal MPs Call for 5% Netflix, Broadband Tax to Support Failing State Media
A Liberal-dominated committee will be calling for a 5-per-cent tax on broadband Internet services to fund Canada’s media industries, which are struggling to adapt to technological changes and evolving consumer habits, sources said.
More and more Canadians are turning away from state broadcasters like the CBC as the stories are often viewed as one-sided and systematically emphasizing one particular point of view in a way that contravenes the standards of professional journalism.
For example, many Canadians on social media feel that the CBC will go out of its way to not report crimes committed by refugees as it does not fit with the Prime Ministers political agenda. These are the kind of problems that are created when a media outlet is supported with government funds.
Any given day in Canada's state funded media, we will see more stories about Justin Trudeau's selfies and chance encounters that just happened to be caught by professional photographers than we will actual news.
A look at First Nation stories will often only show 'doom & gloom' scenarios and seemingly ignore all the positive. Other examples would be Liberal motions and bills such as M-103, Bill89 and C-16. Polls and research have shown that Canadians overwhelmingly oppose these but you wouldn't know that if you are a reader of state media because they need their funding.
Journalists at Canadian publications are not to blame for the bias. Stories that they bring that do not reflect the particular viewpoints are often shot down before they have a chance to be published.
According to the Globe and Mail, sources said MPs of all stripes acknowledged the shaky state of the industry, including the decline in local news coverage in communities across Canada. However, they disagreed on the solutions to the problems, with the Conservatives refusing to sign on to the majority report, sources said.
The Liberal proposal for a new levy would build on the current 5-per-cent charge on cable and satellite TV bills across the country, sources said.
Liberal MP Hedy Fry, who is the chair of the Heritage committee, refused to comment on the content of the report on Wednesday, stating only that it will be “interesting.”
Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly has launched a review of Canada’s cultural policies and programs, stating that everything was on the table. She is expected to lay out her vision for an overhaul of the government’s laws and programs in a major speech in September.
She has already carried out pan-Canadian consultations on the state of the industry, but is expected to consider the Heritage committee’s report as she develops her response to the crisis in the media industry.
The Liberal government has previously spoken out against a “Netflix tax” that would force the streaming service to contribute to the CMF. However, the government is facing widespread pressure to start charging sales taxes on services such as Netflix and iTunes, to level the playing field with Canadian-based services.
Canadians are not stupid people. They are turning away from state media and getting real and unbiased news from alternative sources. Extra money to non-competitive broadcasters will not change that. It is up to the state broadcasters to push back and report real news with real facts and not pick sides and people will turn back to them.