Enabling Postmedia: Economists as the “Rock Stars” of Canadian Competition Law

Authors

  • Marc Edge University of Malta

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.22230/cjc.2020v45n2a3561

Keywords:

Newspapers, Postmedia, Competition Bureau, Concentration of press ownership / Journaux, Bureau de la concurrence, Concentration des médias

Abstract

Background Canada issuffering a crisisin local newslargely attributable to regulatory failure. Its largest newspaper chain, Postmedia Network, took over the second-largest chain in late 2014, and in early 2016 it merged the newsrooms at its duplicate dailies in four of Canada’s six largest cities. Parliamentary hearings on local media ensued, and a mid-2017 reportrecommended, among otherthings, changest o the Competition Act to more effectively deal with news media mergers and takeovers.

Analysis The Competition Bureau is dominated by economists who may lack sufficient grounding in media issues to effectively deal with mergers and takeovers in news industries.

Conclusion and implications Reform of the country’s Competition Act, which has been called for by successive federal media inquiries, is more urgently required than ever. Keywords Newspapers; Postmedia; Competition Bureau; Concentration of press ownership

RÉSUMÉ

Contexte Le Canada est en train de souffrir d’une crise dansles nouvelleslocales, largement attribuable à un échec de réglementation. La plus grande chaîne de journaux au pays, Postmedia Network, a acquis la seconde chaîne fin 2014, et début 2016 elle a combiné les salles de nouvelles de ses quotidiensrivaux dans quatre dessix plus grandes villes du Canada. Il s’est ensuivi des audiences parlementaires sur les médias locaux, et en mi-2017 un rapport a recommandé, entre autres, des changements à la Loisurla concurrence afin de mieux gérer les fusions et acquisitions parmi les médias d’information.

Analyse Le Bureau de la concurrence se voit dominer par des économistes n’ayant peut-être pas assez de connaissances sur les médias pour traiter de fusions et d’acquisitions dans ce domaine.

Conclusion et implications Plusieurs comités fédéraux successifs ont recommandé la réforme de la Loi sur la concurrence. Une telle réforme s’avère plus urgente que jamais. Mots clés Journaux; Postmedia; Bureau de la concurrence; Concentration des médias

Author Biography

Marc Edge, University of Malta

Marc Edge is an Associate Professor in the Department of Media and Communications at the University of Malta. He is the author of five books, most recently The News We Deserve: The Transformation of Canada's Media Landscape (Vancouver: New Star Books), 2016.

Published

2020-07-06

Issue

Section

Articles