February 16, 2016 5:18 pm
Updated: February 16, 2016 5:23 pm

Panel of MPs to examine issue of local news crisis, media concentration

A woman walks by the Guelph Mercury office on Jan. 25, 2016, the day it announced layoffs and the end of its print edition. A House of Commons committee will investigate the state of local media.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Hannah Yoon
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OTTAWA – A House of Commons committee is about to tackle a problem that has vexed the federal government for decades – how to support local news media and make sure citizens have access to Canadian content.

MPs on the heritage committee are embarking on a major study about how Canadians get information about their communities and regions, the impact of news media concentration, and how the digital space fits into it all.

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They’ll spend at least 10 meetings hearing from witnesses from the print, broadcast and digital media worlds, as well as other cultural institutions.

READ MORE: Ontario daily newspaper Guelph Mercury quits print editions

Another raft of local newsroom closures and the financial struggles of large national media outlets have raised interest in how lawmakers can help Canadian journalism survive.

Committee chair and Liberal MP Hedy Fry says she’s confident the committee can stimulate definitive action, even though previous parliamentary studies on the subject can literally fill a shelf.

NDP heritage critic Pierre Nantel welcomes the study, and says it will be important in particular to see how Canada’s linguistic minority communities are being served by the media.

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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