The Commerce Department will soon decide whether or not to lift tariffs of up to 30 percent on uncoated Canadian paper that have been crippling already struggling newspapers across the country. The First Amendment right to Freedom of the Press is at stake here and Americans should be very concerned. Newsprint costs for large metro papers, like Tampa Bay Times, will be driven up $3 million a year and at least 50 employees face layoffs.
The tariffs are a result of a complaint from one, that’s right, one manufacturer. North Pacific Paper Co. (NORPAC) blames Canadian paper imports for their lagging business, but it’s no secret that the digital revolution has changed where people get their news. Craig Anneberg, NORPAC’s CEO isn’t willing to accept that harsh reality. NPR quoted Anneberg’s rationale for the tariffs. He talks about NORPAC’s advanced machinery and shipping capabilities and how, “if we couldn’t compete, if we were having to shut down one of our machines, it looked like something wasn’t right.”
It isn’t a matter of trade. Over the last two decades newsprint consumption has dropped a whopping 75 percent. These tariffs are a debilitating blow to an industry that’s already against the ropes. Thousands of jobs are in jeopardy. Along with the distribution of information. We are one of few countries in the entire world with true Freedom of the Press and we cannot lose it, especially not now.
The NFPW has partnered with Stop Tariffs on Printing and Publishing (STOPP) to fight against these tariffs. Sign their petition here to let the Commerce Department know you’re opposed to tariffs on newsprint. Leverage the convenience of the internet to forward the petition to 5 of your friends. Follow STOPP on Twitter and Facebook. Share this information across social media using #StopTheNewsprintTax to draw awareness to this issue that threatens thousands of jobs and the Freedom of the Press itself.