Quebeckers must do their part to counter the media crisis by subscribing to newspapers, according to the wish expressed by Prime Minister François Legault.
“There is nothing free in life,” said the Prime Minister in a scrum on Wednesday, when he was invited to comment on the serious financial crisis currently affecting the entire media sector, particularly the media. writings.
To hope to cross the crisis, everyone will have to put the shoulder to the wheel, he warned. The government will have to do its part, of course, but citizens will also have to assume their responsibilities if they want to continue to have access to quality information, in major centers and regions, he said in substance.
“I invite all Quebecers to subscribe to newspapers, to local media in Quebec,” he pleaded, calling press companies the essential machinery of democracy.
A parliamentary commission will next week discuss the new business models to be favored, with a view to securing the financial future of news organizations, which have been put to the test because of the steady decline in advertising revenues, hoarded by giants of the media. web that are Facebook and Google.
Beginning in the fall, Quebec will table an action plan containing a series of measures, including tax measures, designed to ensure the survival of the various Quebec, national and regional media, and above all to retain the jobs of journalists, more and more threatened.
Earlier this week, Groupe Capitales Médias, which brings together six regional dailies, announced that it had run out of cash and had to go under the protection of the Creditors Arrangement Act.
Earlier this week, to ensure the operation of these six newspapers over the next few months, Quebec has released emergency assistance of $ 5 million, which was added to a loan of $ 10 million paid in 2017 The government has become the main creditor of the Capital Media Group.
As such, the government will play a key role in the future, managing the acquisition process of the group’s six dailies.
In this issue, the Minister of the Economy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, said Wednesday that its primary objective would be to ensure “the sustainability of the six newspapers.”
He added in a scrum that the fear of a greater concentration of the press resulting from the upcoming transaction was “very relevant”.
We know that the boss of Quebecor, Pierre Karl Péladeau, including owner of TVA, LCN, the agency QMI, QUB radio, the Journal de Montreal and the Journal de Québec , is on the ranks to acquire the newspapers of the group of press in trouble. The Sun and the Journal de Québec occupy the same advertising market and join the same pool of readers.
Minister Fitzgibbon said he hopes to receive in the coming months “several offers” to buy all six dailies, in whole or in part.
In a broader perspective, however, the government is not ready to go so far as to buy advertising space in Google or Facebook, to save struggling news organizations.
According to the Prime Minister, when it comes to advertising, we must start from the principle that “to reach the population, we go where the population is”.
It would be unthinkable, in our time, to even think of “circumventing these media”.
“We can not blame advertisers to go where people are,” said Mr. Legault, adding that more consumers will opt for Quebec media, the more advertisers will do the same.