At a time when voices are rising to ask the government to help only the media with a newsroom enjoying full independence, elected solidarity Catherine Dorion Thursday exposed a "culture of self-censorship" to Journal of Quebec, where she was a blogger.
"I'm not talking about an internal censorship policy. Maybe some have experienced it. But, there is a corporate culture, according to what I experienced, a culture of self-censorship that says, "This is your sandbox. If you go out, we will call you and we will tell you that this is not where you have to go, "she said on the sidelines of the work of the parliamentary committee on the future of the media, Thursday.
The elected official shared her experience with the President and CEO of Quebecor, Pierre Karl Péladeau, during his parliamentary committee on Wednesday evening. She told him that he had been dissuaded by bosses from "talking about John Doe" or "PKP" or criticizing Quebecor or a columnist of the media group in his lyrics. The press mogul had reproached Taschereau's elected representative for "putting on a show".
Thursday morning, Ms. Dorion judged the exchange she had the day before with Mr. Péladeau "disappointing". "I think he was destabilized," she told the press before entering the parliamentary committee room.
The holder of the Research Chair in Journalism Ethics, Marc-François Bernier, recalled that "the will of the owner or the manager can percolate up to the newsroom through the frames". "That's what Mr. Pierre Péladeau Sr. was saying at Radio-Canada, perhaps 40, 50 years ago. He said, "It's not me calling. But he said, "I hired executives to get messages across." So, it's the same in all newsrooms; it is more or less subtle, for example, "he told the members of the Committee on Culture and Education.
Help not without condition
For its part, CBC / Radio-Canada said it was in favor of granting Quebec government assistance to media in difficulty, but not without conditions. The principles of journalistic independence, public interest and the common good must prevail.
A tightly sealed "China wall" should separate the newsroom from the rest of the company, said Luce Julien, director general of information for the state-owned company. "It's fundamental. "
There is a corporate culture, according to what I experienced, a culture of self-censorship that says, "This is your sandbox. If you go out, we'll call you, and we'll tell you that's not where you need to go. "
Agreeing that it occupies a "privileged position in the Quebec media ecosystem" because of its funding from the federal government, the public broadcaster committed on Thursday to "be part of the solution" to the crisis of the Quebec press.
Radio-Canada does not apply for a tax credit or a special grant today. On the contrary, society will clamor with the Quebec media against "powerful" digital companies: "Google, Facebook, Amazon and other Apple". He promises to support Québec's news media in their "transition to a viable, longer-term model". "This support can be expressed through a training offer, alliances in production, the dissemination of content (example of ICI TOU.TV) or the sharing of expertise in business intelligence. Radio-Canada is also ready to form one-off partnerships in investigative journalism, "the public broadcaster's directorate told the Culture and Education Committee.
At the end of the day, the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Culture and Communications, Louis Lemieux, indicated that "before the end of the year, there will be a measure of help" for the media in difficulty .
Professor Alain Saulnier for his part called the Quebec political class to ring the charge against GAFAM – Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft – without delay and "do not give the good God without confession" to the Cooperation Organization and Economic Development (OECD).
The Legault government wants to have the OECD report on hand before deciding whether to tax GAFAM's revenue.
Quebec is "besieged by GAFAM in terms of media and culture," Saulnier said. The Quebec government must "set the tone" by "working out now on a strategic level," he insisted.
Like many others, The Gazette reported being in direct competition with Google and Facebook giants for the same digital advertisers. "(GAFAMs) also operate in a virtually unregulated and non-taxable space, while employing few Quebeckers and producing no Quebec content," denounced its editor, Lucinda Chodan.