The Trudeau Liberals should consider giving minority reporters more taxpayer dollars than their Caucasian counterparts, according to a Heritage Canada report.
“Organizations mentioned the need for government funds dedicated to creators and journalists from Indigenous, racialized and religious minority communities in the media,” said Changing Narratives Fund Report On Consultations.
Direct cash payments would be in addition to rebates of $29,750 per employee at cabinet-approved newsrooms, reported Blacklock’s Reporter. The report suggests directly paying individual reporters up to $45,000 a year in the name of diversity.
The proposed subsidies would go towards hiring journalists from “diverse communities” to “guarantee diverse perspectives” in media coverage, added Changing Narratives.
“Funding should be stable and targeted,” it said, with the aim to prioritize reporters that are Indigenous, Muslim, black or LGBTQ.
“A number of organizations argued media coverage of the reality of their communities has not only been historically deficient but has often been detrimental,” said Changing Narratives. “Consequently, the lack of regular and daily contact between majority and minority communities leads to misunderstanding of the other and worsens stereotypes and negative attitudes.”
“If these new talents are not trained or allocated budgets or resources to share their stories, they may well remain invisible. For these stories to be seen a paradigm shift is needed in the way traditional news media share the stories of Indigenous, racialized and religious minority communities,” continued the report.
According to Blacklock’s Reporter, the Heritage Canada submission did not name the “stakeholders” consulted by professors Christopher Dornan and Adrian Harewood of Carleton University and Patrick White of the University of Québec.
“Stakeholders identified discriminatory hiring practices as the main barrier to community representation both in the culture and media sectors,” said the report. “Several respondents reported direct discrimination experienced by several members of their communities, reporting situations where an employee or applicant was treated less favourably than another,” it added.
Parliament in 2019 created a $595 million bailout fund for cabinet-approved media deemed “qualified” for subsidies. News Media Canada, a publishers’ group that lobbied for subsidies, had promised federal aid would be expire after five years on March 31, 2024.
“There will be news outlets, newspapers, that fail the transition,” Bob Cox, then-CEO of News Media Canada, testified at 2019 hearings of the Commons finance committee. “You can’t give them forever. We will have to save ourselves.”
News Media Canada subsequently petitioned the finance committee to extend subsidies at higher rates. Cabinet in its November 21 Fall Economic Statement agreed to double payroll rebates from a maximum $13,750 a year per newsroom employee to $29,750 a year through the next election.