The survey was conducted by Nanos Research for FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting, a non-partisan media watchdog, and was released on Monday.
It found that seven in 10 Canadians support (26%), or somewhat (41%), the federal government, which provides financial assistance to failed news organizations.
A majority of Canadians also agree (36%) or somewhat agree (26%) that Ottawa should treat bankruptcy and layoffs in the media as an emergency, since journalism is essential to “ensure the safety of canadians ”during this crisis.
A country that cannot speak to itself ceases to be
The survey found that Canadian media saw their advertising revenues drop by almost 60% and almost 500 journalists were laid off in the first two weeks of the lockout.
Torstar, which publishes several dailies including the Toronto Star, announced Monday that it will cut 85 positions and cut its operating budget to make up for lost advertising revenue.
The government previously announced a $ 30 million COVID-19 awareness campaign to support the struggling media industry in Canada. And Ottawa has said it is getting closer to implementing long-promised tax credits for newspapers.
However, the measures have been widely criticized as insufficient to make a real difference, including Mark Lever, the president of SaltWire Network, a Atlantic Canadian newspaper chain that laid off 240 employees – roughly 40% of its workforce – last month and closed several of its publications.
“Many of our major news organizations are facing imminent failure, even after taking into account the government’s proposed tax credits and wage subsidies,” said AMIS executive director Daniel Bernhard. “This is an acute emergency and Canadians want Ottawa to act quickly to save these trusted institutions from mass extinction.
“Our democracy and our future as an independent country are at stake. A country that cannot speak to itself ceases to be. If we lose our media, we lose our country. “
When the stakes are so high, only professional journalists can trust to deliver the truth
The survey also found that most Canadians trust traditional media more than social media to provide accurate information during a crisis. Almost three-quarters (74%) think that the content of publications on social networks is less precise. Only 10% think social media is as accurate as traditional media, while 4% think it is more accurate.
“Canadians are very clear: when the stakes are so high, only professional journalists can trust to tell the truth,” said Bernhard. “It is time for Ottawa to end the unfair advantages and preferential tax policies that help unreliable businesses like Facebook to sink Canada’s newsrooms.”
Canadians also support (41%) or somewhat (31%) the increase in funding for the CBC.
The survey was conducted on landlines, cell phones and online between March 30 and April 2 as part of an omnibus survey. Nanos Research conducted a random survey of 1,036 Canadians aged 18 and over. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20.
– With files from The Canadian Press