On April 20, 2020, the Australian government directed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to develop a mandatory code governing the commercial relationship between digital platforms and media outlets. This code will address the sharing of data, ranking and display of news content, monetization and sharing of revenue generated from news, and dispute resolution mechanisms. ACCC will release a draft mandatory code by the end of July 2020. This decision follows findings of disparate bargaining power between digital platforms and media outlets in ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry final report, the Australian government had instructed ACCC in December 2019 to facilitate negotiations between the two industries for the development of a voluntary code. These negotiations were expected to last until November 2020. Due to the media sector’s financial strain exacerbated by COVID-19 and ACCC’s belief that a voluntary agreement is unlikely, the Australian government instead enjoined ACCC’s development of a mandatory code. Australia’s Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, stated the government’s belief that a mandatory code “is critical for the future viability of [the Australian] media sector and it’s all about competition and creating a level playing field.”
Members of the News/Media Alliance staff have contributed to this post.