Metro warns press freedom under attack in Saskatoon

The publisher of one newspaper in Saskatoon is speaking out this morning as city council is set to introduce new rules for newspaper boxes. Metro publisher Steve Shrout thinks people should be concerned about the change.

Publisher says city council wants to control how people get their news

City council wants to limit where newspaper boxes can be placed. (CBC)

The publisher of one newspaper in Saskatoon is speaking out this morning as city council is set to introduce new rules for newspaper boxes.

I don't think that city council should be in the business of limiting your exposure- Metro publisher Steve Shrout 

Metro publisher Steve Shrout thinks people should be concerned about the change.

The new rules follow public complaints over the arrival of Metro newspaper boxes in residential neighbourhoods when the paper first arrived in Saskatoon about two years ago.

Public backlash led to new rules 

The call for newspaper box rules follows an inquiry by Councillor Darren Hill. Hill said his phone was ringing off the hook when Metro boxes arrived in neighbourhoods.

 "A lot of calls saying hey this just showed up, we had no idea this was coming, and under our old policy, they were allowed to do that."

The new policy is detailed, but among the changes are an increase in fees, and strict guidelines on where the newspaper boxes can be located.

Metro not alone in concern

According to city documents, Planet S, Verb and Metro have all expressed concern.

However, it’s Metro publisher who has expressed the strongest objections so far.   

“I don’t think that city council should be in the business of limiting your exposure and telling you which media you can or cannot enjoy.”

Hill told CBC News that in his view the policy does not limit any newspapers ability to reach its readers.  Hill said he supports a vibrant newspaper industry in Saskatoon.

"But, not at the expense of unsightliness in residential neighbourhoods, and clutter within both residential neighbourhoods and business district."

Council still has to approve the new policy for newspaper boxes.    

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