The sudden announcement to close Sing Tao, Canada’s largest Chinese-language newspapers, hurts not only the Chinese-speaking people of Toronto but Canada’s cultural fabric, says the union representing its employees.
“Closing Sing Tao is an unconscionable blow to the Chinese-speaking people of Toronto who rely on a daily newspaper to keep them informed of what is happening in their city and around the world, in their language,” said Carleen Finch, President of Unifor Local 87-M, which 43 members at Sing Tao.
The company, jointly owned by Hong Kong-based Sing Tao News Corporation and Torstar Corporation, parent company of the Toronto Star, announced yesterday that it will close the newspaper on Aug 27, 2022 after more than 40 years of operation.
Sing Tao is the only Chinese language newspaper publishing in three different Canadian cities: Toronto, where it is based, Vancouver and Calgary. News coverage includes national, provincial, and local news, international news, Hong Kong news, news from Mainland China and Taiwan, plus business, sports, lifestyle, and entertainment.
“Newspapers play a vital role in keeping Canadian society healthy. Professional, quality journalism is critical in supporting our democratic way of life. If we continue to lose Canadian newspapers, TV, and radio news programs, then our communities, economy and even our democracy are imperiled,” added Finch.
Local news is in crisis, and that impacts all Canadians says Unifor.
“The federal government has taken a first step to support local news through Bill C-18, but more is necessary,” said Finch.
Bill C-18, the federal government’s Online News Act that is supposed to make online platforms like Google and Facebook pay for news, is currently stalled in committee, while parliament takes their summer hiatus.
“The bill is intended as a lifeline for the news industry in Canada but it’s looking like it’s too little too late for the employees at Sing Tao,” says Randy Kitt, Unifor’s Director of Media,
“We’ve been raising the alarm on local news for the last decade and closures like this are becoming all too common. We can’t waste any more time getting the support we need from government to keep local news in this country alive.”