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Google's office in New York City on Nov. 17, 2021.ANDREW KELLY/Reuters

The Public Policy Forum says “urgent” action is needed from the Canadian government to level the playing field between news media and tech giants such as Meta and Google amid broad revenue declines in the media industry.

In a new report titled “The Shattered Mirror: 5 Years On,” the organization emphasizes the need to support public-interest, fact-based journalism, which it calls an essential part of democracy.

It cites News Media Canada data on the decline of advertising revenue for community newspapers, where almost 300 local Canadian papers either shuttered or merged with other publications in the decade from 2011 to 2020.

The report recommends implementing the model used in Australia, where the government passed laws that would make digital giants help cover the costs of journalism.

Other recommendations include enhancing the Local Journalism Initiative, Canada’s $50 million program launched by the federal government in 2019 aimed at helping news outlets hire reporters to cover underserved communities.

This report comes five years after the Public Policy Forum’s original “Shattered Mirror” report, which delved into the key issues facing Canada’s journalism industry.

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