Quebec newspapers call for government help


MONTREAL – Several newspaper publishers in Quebec have formed a coalition demanding that the provincial government establish a funding program to help them shift to digital.

The group says its members are all confronted with declining revenue, in part because advertising money has flowed toward social media platforms.

To help the print media, the coalition is asking the province to set up a five-year temporary financial assistance program for newspapers and abolish the sales tax on newspapers.

It also seeks a refundable tax credit covering 40 per cent of production costs and 50 per cent of their investments in digital platforms.

The coalition also wants a “significant increase” in the government budget for advertising in Quebec newspapers as they go through what Groupe Capitales Medias president and CEO Claude Gagnon calls a “profound re-examination” of their business models.

Brian Myles, the director of Montreal’s Le Devoir newspaper, says the group wants the government to grant a “cultural exception” for the province’s print news industry.

“Our dailies and weeklies are vital to preserving a diversity of media voices, enriching debate, and accompanying communities of readers in their daily lives,” Myles said in a statement Wednesday.

The coalition says it represents 146 newspapers in the province.