Greg Hywood: Government should stand up to Google, Facebook bullying

Free TV

“There has rarely been a more important time for Australians to be able to access credible, reliable information and verified facts.”

In its submission to the Senate Economics Committee, Free TV Australia has called on Parliament to stand up to the bullying tactics of the digital platforms and to implement the news media bargaining Code as soon as possible.

Free TV chairman Greg Hywood (pictured) said “There has rarely been a more important time for Australians to be able to access credible, reliable information and verified facts.

“Parliament now has the opportunity to pass the news media bargaining Code which will ensure that Google and Facebook pay a fair price for the quality news content that all Australians rely on,” Hywood said.

The Free TV submission supports the Code and outlines key changes to ensure that:

• all digital platform services that Australians rely on to access news are covered by the Code, including Facebook News Feed, Instagram, Google Search, Google Discover and Google News
• the protections for news media companies against punitive responses by Google and Facebook are strengthened and expanded to cover all forms of content
• Final Offer Arbitration is retained, but further guidance is given to the arbitration panel on how to take into account the “public good” and indirect benefit to the platforms of news content
• the “primary purpose” test for news content be amended so that media companies, like TV broadcasters, that create news content from a variety of news sources, are covered by the Code
• the digital platforms are required to openly and transparently disclose the types of data they collect from the users of news content, as this is one of the key drivers of the value that news content creates for both Google and Facebook.

Free TV Chief Executive Officer Bridget Fair added: “Last week we saw a breathtaking display of Google’s market power in deliberately withholding news content from Australians.

“We urge the Parliament to progress this legislation quickly so that negotiations on fair payment for news content can begin without any further delay.”

Seven West Media managing director and chief executive officer James Warburton said: “Now is the moment for Parliament to pass into law the News Media Bargaining Code. A strong and viable Australian news media sector is fundamental to our democracy, and the Code is a key step in ensuring its ongoing success in the face of foreign digital giants.

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