The Australian Parliament passed the law that requires Google and Facebook to pay Australian media for publishing their journalistic content, the world’s first such legislation.
The law “will ensure that the media receive fair remuneration for the content they generate, which will help keep journalism in the public interest in Australia, ”Australian Treasury Minister Josh Frydenberg said in a statement.
The Australian government introduced a series of changes to the bill on Tuesday (introduced in December), a week after Facebook blocked news in that country, in protest against the legislation, which led to further negotiations with the network. Mark Zuckerberg’s social network.
At the origin of the law for payments for journalistic content was an investigation by the Australian Commission on Competition and Consumer Affairs (ACCC) that exposed the imbalance between advertising revenues obtained by technological companies and the media in the country. According to the final ACCC report on digital platforms, published in December 2019, these concentrated 51% of advertising expenses in Australia in 2017.
Last May, Nine Media Group President Peter Costello said that Google and Facebook generate advertising revenue of around six billion Australian dollars (3.9 billion euros), of which about 10% comes from news content. The new legislation requires technology companies to negotiate with the media for a consideration for publishing journalistic content on their platforms.
The amendments introduced on Tuesday give the technological giants more scope for negotiation, establishing as an last resort the intervention of an arbitration panel to fix the amount to be paid, in case a commercial agreement is not reached. The platforms will have two months to negotiate agreements and avoid arbitration.
The press association Country Press Australia, which represents 161 regional newspapers, fears, however, that smaller news organizations may be left unpaid, according to the Associated Press (AP) news agency. Both Google and Facebook already started to establish agreements with Australia’s largest media outlets.
On Wednesday, Facebook pledged to invest “at least” $ 1 billion (€ 822 million) over the next three years in news content, without specifying how it will be distributed.
Google has already agreed to pay “significant sums” in return for the contents of the news group News Corp., by Rupert Murdoch. Several countries, such as Canada, the United Kingdom, France or India, have shown interest in this law, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said this week.