Should information be freely accessible? Most Canadians say yes in poll – National

A new poll suggests that most Canadians believe news should be free and accessible to everyone, while believing media outlets will find other ways to make money.

Leger conducted a national online survey of 1,564 people over the weekend to gather their opinions on the Liberal government’s Online News Act.

The law, which takes effect later this year, will require digital giants such as Google to compensate media outlets for content shared or otherwise reused on their platforms.

About three in four respondents said they were aware of the Online News Act, formerly known as Bill C-18, and 34 percent of respondents said the law is a good thing for helping media that compete for advertising dollars with tech giants. .

In response to the bill, Meta removed the information from its social platforms Facebook and Instagram, which angered survey respondents.

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Overall, 59 percent of respondents agreed that the company should restore access to the information, and only 12 percent agreed that Meta should be allowed to protest the legislation.

“It’s quite interesting because there’s not a lot of opposition to the bill itself,” said Christian Bourque, executive vice-president of Léger.

“There’s opposition to the fact that they’re not getting their news when they want, where they want.”

The survey suggests that two in three Canadians believe that information should be free and accessible to all, and that “struggling media outlets have other ways to make money.”

This sentiment was highest among 18- to 34-year-olds, a group that primarily gets their news from social media.

Bourque said there was a feeling of, “It’s there, it’s over there.” I should have the right to have access to it.

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He said it was a byproduct of the Internet and the idea that it should give people universal access to whatever they want.

“And social media basically offered everything for free,” he said. “I think most Canadians expect that this is how you get information.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has often said Meta refused to “pay its fair share” because it chose to remove local news from its platforms instead of negotiating deals with publishers, as required by law.

The poll suggests that 43 percent of Canadians support the bill, while 31 percent oppose it and 26 percent don’t know enough about the situation to have an opinion.

The polling industry’s professional body, the Canadian Council for Comprehensive Research, says online surveys cannot be a*signed a margin of error because they do not sample the population randomly.

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News companies have long relied on subscribers, viewers and advertisers to generate revenue, but in recent years they have seen each of these sources decline.

The Canadian Media Concentration Research Project found that Google and Facebook collectively accounted for 79% of online advertising revenues estimated at $12.3 billion in 2021, and more than half of total advertising spending across all media .

News Media Canada said advertising revenue for the country’s community newspapers fell to $411 million in 2020, from $1.21 billion in 2011. During that period, nearly 300 newspapers disappeared or merged with other publications.

Bourque said respondents believe the media will find other ways to make money. “But what other way? »

The poll says nearly half of Canadians, 47 percent, noticed the change after Meta blocked the news, with higher numbers of 54 percent among Quebecers and 59 percent among those who get their news mainly through social media.

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Respondents are turning to other sources of information: 22% of respondents say they will turn to TV and radio, 20% say they will turn to free media websites and apps, and 13% say they will turn to free media websites and apps. choose other social media sites like Reddit and X. formerly known as Twitter.

Only six percent say they are willing to pay a subscription to access information directly.

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