Canada seeks domestic media bailout

Ottawa pledges $162.2 mil for Canadian Television Fund

TORONTO -- The Canadian government on Tuesday called for a modest domestic media bailout as it moved to ease the country's recessionary woes.

As it unveiled the 2009 federal budget, Ottawa promised CAN$200 million ($162.2 million) over two years for the Canadian Television Fund, the main source of public subsidies for independent producers of local primetime programming.

And federal finance minister Jim Flaherty also set aside CAN$30 million ($24.4 million) over two years to help shore up the country's magazines and community newspapers.

The measures came as Ottawa pledged a total $40 billion ($32.5 million) in stimulus for Canada over the next two years to head off an economic crisis.

The bulk of the stimulus for the arts and culture sector will go to the two domestic media sectors hardest hit by the current advertising slump: over-the-air TV stations and the print media.