Australian Media Demands for News Media Bargaining Code
Free TV Australia, Sevenwest Media, Nine, TEN, Commerical Radio Australia, NewsCorp, The Guardian, WIN, Prime Media Group and Southern Cross Austereo have issued a joint statement on inclusions for the News Media Bargaining Code which came out of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Digital Platforms Inquiry.
According to the grouop, the final Code must include:
- Final offer arbitration – this clear and straightforward arbitration model limits incentives on each party to make ambit claims. This is a far more appropriate model than the more traditional slow and expensive arbitration approaches.
- Strong protection against discrimination – in other jurisdictions Google has used its bargaining power to avoid making a fair contribution towards the cost of content creation. Facebook has threated to do the same in Australia. The Code must include protections against these unreasonable tactics.
- Cover all services – The Code must apply to the full suite of products offered by Google and Facebook, including Google Search and its variants, Facebook News feed, and Instagram.
- Information exchange – The digital platforms must be required to exchange all relevant information with news media businesses that is required for a fair and balanced commercial negotiation.
According to the group statement, “Internationally, digital platforms have been slow to agree to the proposition that they should pay a fair value for the news media content they use.
“It is a fact that the Code will not require the platforms to provide any additional user data to news media companies. The Code will not stop them from making changes to their algorithms, or require special treatment for news media businesses.
“We agree that the Code must be fair to all parties and take into account relevant costs and benefits, including any potential “undue burden” on the platforms’ commercial interests.
“It is great news for Australians that the Morrison Government has committed to act on this legislation before the end of the year.
“Google has publicly said it wants to help fund the future of Australian media. That is certainly something that we welcome. Supporting a fair and reasonable Code is the first step. The Code is essential to arrest further declines in professional news content in Australia – something our democracy depends on.
“This is a critical moment in public policy development. It is too important to miss.”
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