Bill will provide safe harbor for news publishers to collectively negotiate with tech platforms
Arlington, VA – Today, on the heels of the Alliance’s House congressional briefing, Senator John Kennedy (R-LA), Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, introduced the “Journalism Competition and Preservation Act” in the Senate with the incredible appreciation of the News Media Alliance. The bill, similar to H.R. 2054 introduced in the House last month by Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee Doug Collins (R-GA) and Representative David Cicilline (D-RI), Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law, would provide a limited safe harbor for news publishers to collectively negotiate with Facebook and Google for better business arrangements.
News Media Alliance President & CEO David Chavern said, “We are thrilled that two bipartisan leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee have championed this legislation, which speaks to its widely understood importance. We are grateful to Senators Kennedy and Klobuchar for their commitment to quality journalism and we look forward to news publishers soon having the ability to negotiate with the platforms that currently control who sees our content.”
The News Media Alliance has been very vocal over the last year in advocating for such legislation, which it believes is needed to address the imbalance in the news publisher-platform relationship. “The tech platforms greatly benefit from news content. We need terms that will allow news publishers to continue to reinvest in quality journalism,” Chavern said.
Currently, the Duopoly captures 90 percent of all digital ad revenue growth and approximately 60 percent of total U.S. digital advertising. Like Kennedy and Klobuchar, the Alliance believes the solution to this problem is to provide a safe harbor for news publishers to allow them to come together to negotiate with the platforms on their overall behalf.
“At the heart of this bill is helping newspapers survive amid shrinking circulations and massive layoffs. Google and Facebook now control the news kingdom. They’ve pitted themselves against newspapers in a David-and-Goliath battle in which newspapers don’t have a stone to throw much less a slingshot to put it in. The readers are the true losers as newsrooms empty out across this country,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Google and Facebook aren’t just companies. They’re countries. We can’t allow them to bully newspapers out of business.”
Senator Klobuchar stated, “Without honest and trusted journalists reporting around the world and here at home, what is out of sight truly becomes out of mind—but we’re seeing more and more independent and local news outlets close as ‘fake news’ rises. It’s more important than ever that we protect the free press and establish an even playing field for negotiation with online platforms. Our bipartisan legislation will improve the quality and accessibility of reporting and ensure that journalists are able to continue their critical work.”
The Alliance applauds Senators Kennedy and Klobuchar for their for their leadership in support of local newspapers across the country and eagerly anticipates the ability for news publishers to finally be able to ask the platforms to acknowledge the immense value of their content.
For more information, view the Fact Sheet on Senator Kennedy’s website.
The News Media Alliance is a nonprofit organization representing more than 2,000 news organizations and their multiplatform businesses in the United States and globally. Alliance members include print, digital and mobile publishers of original news content. Headquartered near Washington, D.C., in Arlington, Va., the association focuses on ensuring the future of news media through communication, research, advocacy and innovation. Information about the News Media Alliance (formerly NAA) can be found at www.newsmediaalliance.org.
Members of the News/Media Alliance staff have contributed to this post.