Officials with the Department of Canadian Heritage have refused to name the identity of outlets and journalists hired under the Liberal government’s $50 million Local Journalism Initiative (LJI).
Over e-mail, federal officials told conservative outlet True North that the government did not have such information on hand.
“To protect the arm’s-length relationship between the Government and supported news organizations, the program is administered by seven not-for-profit organizations that represent different segments of the news sector,” a Department of Canadian Heritage spokesperson stated. “Therefore, the Department of Canadian Heritage is not directly involved in application processes nor funding decisions and does not collect third-party personally-identifiable information during the course of the administration of the program.”
Launched three years ago, the LJI claims that "it supports the creation of original civic journalism that covers the diverse needs of underserved communities across Canada.
Funding is available to eligible Canadian media organizations to hire journalists or pay freelance journalists to produce civic journalism for underserved communities."
Heritage Canada funds for the project are overseen by seven “Administrator Organizations,” including News Media Canada, Association de la presse francophone, Quebec Community Newspapers Association, the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada, the Community Radio Fund of Canada, the Canadian Association of Community Television Users and Stations and the Fédération des télévisions communautaires autonomes du Québec.
Although a list of organizations that received funds can be viewed here, there is no mention of who the reporters were or how much each outlet received.