The two media giants Torstar Corp. and Postmedia Network Inc. announced on 27 November that they would cut nearly 300 jobs as they plan to shutter more than 30 mostly local newspapers and weeklies across the country, most of whom are based in Ontario.
The massive closures are a natural result of the federal government’s failure to address the crisis in the newspapers industry, said in a statement Canada’s media union Unifor, affiliated to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).
IFJ member unions Unifor and CWA Canada both represent journalists at monty other papers affected, and both called for strong action.
Unifor National President Jerry Dias earlier this week called on Heritage Minister Melanie Joly to immediately take strong action to address the newspapers´crisis before more papers close, following the cultural strategy she unveiled in September and which lacks measures to give a boost to struggling industry, according to media experts.
“Minister Joly has been presented with many options for addressing the structural challenges facing newspapers in Canada. It is time to act,” he added.
CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon called the move a “deathblow to local newspaper competition¨ in many communities. “It’s bad for local journalism and bad for municipal democracy.”
In addition, Unifor Media director Howard Law said that “A thriving democracy requires a diversity of journalists’ voices. Today’s actions will quiet that diversity.”
Law reported that the union would be meeting with its members at affected papers, and with both companies, to discuss the change in ownership at several publications, as well as the closures, and the impact on its members and the communities.
The IFJ stood up in solidarity with the affected workers and their families and backed its affiliate in Canada condemning the move of the two media giants.
"This is a cynical move by two very large corporations. The public is poorly served when newspapers close and journalists are put out of work. We have seen newspapers close all around the world, but rarely on such a scale on one day and rarely with such disregard for their own readers," said the IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger.