Business & Economy

Australia passes law for Google and Facebook to pay local media

Sydney, Australia, Feb 25 (efe-epa).- Australia approved Thursday a pioneering law for Google and Facebook to pay local media for the publication of their journalistic content, a week after the platform led by Mark Zuckerberg was banned from publishing news in the country.

The law “will ensure media receive fair remuneration for the content they generate, which will help keep journalism of public interest in Australia,” Australian Treasury Minister Josh Frydenberg said in a statement.

The government prior to approval introduced Tuesday a series of technical amendments to its bill, presented to parliament in December, coinciding with Facebook’s and the executive’s announcement of the restoration of news in the country.

The Journalism Payments Act was developed following investigations by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) into the imbalance in advertising revenue between technology companies and media in Australia.

The new legislation obliges technology companies to negotiate with the media, a consideration for journalistic content published on their platforms.

The amendments give technology companies a greater margin of negotiation in their agreements with the media, as well as considering the intervention of an arbitration panel as a last resort to set the amount to be paid if a commercial agreement isn’t reached.

Several countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom, France or India have shown interest in drafting this law, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said this week, claiming to have discussed the matter with the countries’ leaders.

Google and Facebook expressed their discomfort over the mandatory nature of the payment, having already begun to establish agreements with the most important local media in Australia, although certain union sectors have warned that smaller journalistic organizations could be left without remuneration.

Australian media group Nine’s Chairman Peter Costello, said in May that Google and Facebook generate ad revenue of about AUD $ 6 billion ($ 3.85 billion), and that roughly 10 percent of that figure is the result of the content of the news.

The ACCC determined in its final report on digital platforms, published in December 2019, that they concentrated 51 percent of advertising spending in 2017 in the oceanic country. EFE-EPA

wat/lds

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