Media giants continue to fight disclosure of evidence about 2017 deal that shuttered 36 newspapers.
Newspaper giants Torstar and Postmedia have both just claimed millions in taxpayer subsidies from the federal government’s controversial news media fund.
But at the same time they’re counting the cash, they’re continuing to fight in court to keep the public from learning about their 2017 deal that resulted in 36 newspapers closing across Canada.
Postmedia’s latest financial report included $7 million from the fund in its revenues — and that’s just for nine months.
Torstar claimed $4.5 million in subsidies from the fund, also just for nine months, when it released its quarterly financial report Wednesday.
Critics feared the fund, which promises almost $600 million over five years, would enrich shareholders or hedge funds while media corporations continue to slash staff and close newspapers.The Tyee is supported by readers like you Join us and grow independent media in Canada
That’s what Postmedia and Torstar did in 2017. The two corporations swapped 43 newspapers, and on the same day the deal was announced closed 36 of them. Almost 300 people lost their jobs and 36 communities lost a news source. In many of them, competition was replaced with a monopoly controlled by one of the two corporations.
That situation sparked a continuing Competition Bureau investigationinto “alleged anti-competitive conduct.” The bureau later announced it was pursuing the investigation under the criminal conspiracy provisions of the Competition Act.
And while Torstar and Postmedia are taking taxpayers’ money, the two companies have been fighting to keep the public or prosecutors from seeing documents seized in searches of their offices or used to obtain search warrants.
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