The News Media Alliance commends the release today of the Australian Parliament’s Economics Legislation Committee Report on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) News Media Bargaining Code. The report indicates there is support from all parties to proceed with passing the Code legislation without amendment. The bargaining code, if it becomes law, would require the dominant tech platforms to, among other things, negotiate with and compensate news publishers in Australia for use of their content. With the release of the Committee’s report today, the Bill will now be reviewed by the Committee of the Whole Senate and could be passed as soon as next week, and likely by February 25.
In the report, the Economics Legislation Committee recognized the importance of public interest journalism, noting that it is a “cornerstone of democracy” and stating that the bill reflects a growing international recognition of the importance of public interest journalism. The Committee recommends that the bill be adopted as it would “provide the basis for a more equitable relationship between the media and Google/Facebook” and help ensure the sustainability of public interest journalism in the country.
News Media Alliance President & CEO, David Chavern, stated, “This is a tremendously important step toward preserving high-quality journalism, not only in Australia but around the world. The Australian bargaining code is a model of historic importance – akin to the creation of the music licensing system – that is already changing the debate about the future of news publishing.”
The Code also requires digital platforms to disclose certain algorithmic changes that would affect news publishers’ revenue.
The Alliance looks forward to continued progress, including adopting similar legislation in the U.S., such as the bill introduced in the House and Senate, the Journalism Competition & Preservation Act, which would grant news publishers the ability to negotiate collectively with the tech platforms for fair compensation for use of their content.