Although the laws are ready to take effect, the laws’ architect clearly said that it will take time for the digital giants to strike the media deals. Amendments to the law were passed by the Parliament which was agreed between Mark Zuckerberg and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. The new law of Australia is a move that may unleash more global regulatory actions to limit their power.
The Bargaining Code of Australia
The highly contentious media bargaining bill has been passed by Parliament. Now, a radical piece of media reform will come into effect. Frydenberg said,” The code will ensure that news media businesses are fairly remunerated for the content they generate, helping to sustain public interest journalism in Australia.” He further added that “the code provides a framework for good faith negotiations between the parties and a fair and balanced arbitration process to resolve outstanding disputes.”
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Variation in the Scenario
Initially, Facebook had claimed that the publishers voluntarily shared content on the platform. Even Google was much keen to avoid creating a precedent, something that could make their flagship search engine unworkable. Now, the companies have two months in their hands to avoid binding arbitration and reach additional agreements with the news organization. Both the digital platforms- Facebook and Google have agreed to invest about $1 billion each in news for the next three years. On Tuesday, Seven West, an Australian media company made a deal with Facebook that is considered as the ‘first proposed’ deal of the giant platform.
Will the Small Publishers be Left Behind?
Over the past 10 years in Australia, thousands of journalism jobs have been lost as the advertising revenue went digital. Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said, “We do not expect there to be arrangements with small and regional publishers as well as the larger ones, albeit through a more efficient mode of engagement through a default order.” So far the deals which have been announced have mostly covered larger publishers like Seven West Media and News Corp. Junkee and Private Media, which are even more niche publishers with agreements are found to be larger than many regional outlets. But the Government does not think that the smaller publishers will be left behind.
TPT Policy Advocacy & Recommendations
- If the new law in Australia is good for journalism, then without any further arguments, the digital platforms must agree with the new law. But, at the same time, the Ministry must keep in mind that the small publishers are not left behind.
- The two digital platforms, Facebook and Google must negotiate with the news business about how much to pay them for the content. But if that doesn’t happen, then at some point, the dispute will continue. And the effect of such disputes will leave a great impact on the social media platforms.