For one moment, let’s leave aside the internecine debates about what the so-called media bailout and its “independent panel of experts” might, could, or will do. The government’s plan, outlined in the 2019 budget, is much clearer on what it doesn’t do.
Incubating startups, supporting podcasts, and funding video-based journalism are all but ruled out, by virtue of not being “primarily engaged in the production of original written news content,” as the government’s funding criteria puts it. Through its exclusions, the Liberal government has articulated its technocratic vision of what the press’ business model ought to be — corporate, salaried, and government-qualified. Different corners of the industry may take umbrage with any one of these aspects, but at the confluence lies a long-time fixture of an independent press, one that arguably finds itself the furthest from government support: freelancers.
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