(Black Press files)

Most Canadians believe journalism plays critical role in democracy: poll

Survey suggests 94 per cent of Canadians feel journalism plays ‘important’ part

  • Feb. 16, 2018 2:15 p.m.

The vast majority of Canadians believe journalism plays a critical democratic role in the country, a new poll suggests.

The poll, from Maru/Matchbox’s Angus Reid Forum, surveyed 1,500 Canadians and reported that 94 per cent of respondents feel journalism plays an “important” role in Canadian democracy, and that nearly three quarters feel it plays a “very” or “critically” important role.

“These results send a clear message to elected officials that Canadians, now more than ever, believe that journalism is a crucial part of the democratic fabric of our country,” says John Hinds, president and CEO of News Media Canada, in a news release.

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The survey, conducted from Feb. 9-11, also asked what the federal government should do to help strengthen the news media industry.

More than eight out of 10 respondents pointed to amending the tax code to create a more level playing field for digital advertising.

“At present, American-owned giants such as Facebook and Google siphon off more than 85 cents of every advertising dollar, leaving only pennies for news organization that generate content,” the release said.

Other actions supported in the survey results include adding daily newspapers to the Canadian Periodical Fund (79%), beefing up copyright protection for content from news aggregators (78%), and making it easier to donate to news organizations as a way to finance them (77%).

These were just some of the recommendations that came out of consultation conducted by Ottawa, the release said.

“These are some very practical, low-cost, solutions that the federal government could act on tomorrow,” Hinds said. “We hope our leaders in Ottawa give some serious thought to these proposals in advance of Budget 2018.”

The Trudeau government plans to table its next budget on Feb. 27.

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