Actually, we must find a way to encourage the media to produce local news. We are seeing the same trend as you have so accurately described, and we are concerned. For a number of years, we have seen the importance of local news decline.
I started in 1985 as a journalist for the Journal de Québec. I stopped in 2011. At the time, whether for the Journal de Québec, Le Soleil daily newspaper, the TVA network or Radio-Canada, we would go throughout the regions, in the Lower St. Lawrence or elsewhere, to cover local news. Today, it takes major news to have reporters leave cities and urban centres. Otherwise, they no longer go out. We share your concern on this.
By looking at the situation, we see that incentives are a must. Companies talk about money. So we must find a financial incentive, which is why we are proposing the simple solution of a tax credit. If, in terms of local advertising in traditional media, a company in a small town has an advertising budget of $50,000 a year and receives a tax credit of, say, 20%, perhaps it will still choose to invest its $50,000 of advertising plus the 20% in more advertising. That would get the wheels in motion and encourage media to produce local news.
I think the incentive must be financial, which is why we are proposing those kinds of solutions. It is all well and good to talk about principles, but we are concerned about the quality of the information. That is why we mentioned a code of ethics in our brief. Those things must go hand in hand.
Businesses are increasingly asking news professionals to produce more news on several platforms and to spend less and less time on fact-checking the news, but to increasingly feed content to all sorts of platforms. For our part, we talk about the quality of information, which is not a major point of discussion for big businesses. We are concerned about quantity, but we are also concerned about quality.