Statement: News Media Alliance Applauds Microsoft for Support of Australia Bargaining Code

Microsoft President Brad Smith today outlined Microsoft’s support for the proposed bargaining code in Australia that would, among other things, require dominant tech platforms to negotiate with and compensate news publishers for the use of their content. In the Microsoft article, Smith stated, “Microsoft fully supports the News Media Bargaining Code. The code reasonably attempts to address the bargaining power imbalance between digital platforms and Australian news businesses. It also recognises the important role search plays, not only to consumers but to the thousands of Australian small businesses that rely on search and advertising technology to fund and support their organisations.”

Smith also stated that Microsoft would abide by the legislation for its search engine, Bing, if and when it is told it must do so.

News Media Alliance President and CEO, David Chavern, stated, “We were very pleased to see Brad Smith’s remarks about the bargaining code in Australia, which we see as a turning point in global efforts to create a sustainable model for professional news. I have long said that the tech platforms can and should be part of the solution, rather than an obstacle, to ensuring the preservation of high-quality journalism. And in turn, quality news can offer a solution to the out-of-control spread of mis- and disinformation we are currently witnessing across the big tech platforms. Through working together and appropriately directing revenue to the original creators of content, we can ensure that the internet is a place where truth reigns and fake news and hate are driven out.”

Chavern penned an op-ed in The Australian, published today, describing Australia’s decision as “one that could change the course of civic societies around the globe” and calling the bargaining code “brave, thoughtful and right.”

The Alliance looks forward to the Australia bargaining code being signed into law, and to other countries – including the U.S. – adopting similar legislation, such as the U.S. 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.

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