Unfortunately, both the Local Journalism Initiative nor our request to establish a Community Broadcasting Fund was not included in the budget. To be frank, there was essentially nothing for anything in the heritage sector.
Extending funding for the Local Journalism Initiative was in the Liberal campaign promises, in the Heritage Minister’s mandate letter, but is not in #budget23. While we are disappointed, we will continue to work with the government to ensure local news is supported.
#budget23 represents a step backward in the fight against disinformation. By not funding the Local Journalism Initiative there will be fewer journalists left to fight for local Canadians who are already underserved by other broadcasters.
The #budget23 shows no support funding for non-profit broadcasters who are filling the role of local news and information as commercial entities exit the local markets. 2023 and beyond will be difficult for many community media organizations.
We know stations are struggling, yet the community and Indigenous broadcasting sectors are growing because of the need for local news, information and entertainment as commercial broadcasters exit markets. As commercial broadcasting revenues reduce, so does Canadian Content Development funding through the Community Radio Fund of Canada. This, along with changes in the Broadcasting Act (C-11) and the lingering impacts of the pandemic means that support for community broadcasters in the future is critical to the health of our communities and the democratic process. We will continue engaging with members of parliament and senior government officials to work on developing solutions that support non-profit broadcasters across this country.
We would like to again thank the 55+ stations who sent some 270+ letters – we were heard and we will just have to raise our voices a little more.
NCRA/ANREC Executive Director