Opinion: In a democracy, the government shouldn’t fund the media

Financial Post

Ottawa now has a list of approved media organizations that may be eligible for government funding of a portion of the salaries of their reporters and journalists. PHOTO BY BRENT LEWIN/BLOOMBERG FILES

Scrap this Ministry of Truth-type $600-million bailout and eliminate any perception of a conflict of interest in our media’s reporting of the government

To maintain trust in the audit process, users of the audited financial statements must know the auditors have not been influenced by any conflict of interest, real or perceived. Of course, the vast majority of auditors are honest and understand their reputation is on the line should there be any questions as to the quality of their audit, for whatever reason. The Competition Bureau is responsible for making a decision on the merger. Suppose Rogers and Shaw start paying a portion of the salaries of the employees of the Competition Bureau, up to a maximum credit of $13,750 per employee.

It’s obviously possible that the Competition Bureau employees would act objectively. As with auditors, their reputations would be at stake. But there would definitely be an appearance of a conflict of interest and that could cause Canadians to lose trust in the objectivity of the proceedings. That is exactly the situation we now have in Canada with the media.

The newspapers I read, including this one, certainly do not go easy on the current government. Even so, the appearance of a conflict of interest may cause Canadians to lose trust in the objectivity of the media. Part of the $600-million funding is a tax credit that individual Canadians can claim, known as the digital news subscription expenses tax credit. Like any accountant in tax season, I’m grateful for the extra business as the federal government makes our income tax system even more complicated.

Canadians should not accept a situation in which the government funds the media. It’s time to scrap this Ministry of Truth-type $600-million bailout and eliminate any perception of a conflict of interest in our media’s reporting of the government.

Read more.

Source: Neal Winokur | Financial Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *