Statement on News Media Bargaining Code: Big Tech Media Code Good News for Democracy

The Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology has welcomed the introduction of legislation, forcing Google and Facebook to pay for news, as globally significant response to the growing power of Big Tech.

The News Media Bargaining Code, to be tabled by the Morrison Government this week, will force the platforms to compensate for the premium journalistic content that powers their social network.

Critically, the government has included SBS and ABC in the framework, which would see an independent ruling of the most reasonable offer if an agreement cannot be reached.

Centre for Responsible Technology director, Peter Lewis, said the laws would give media organisations a fighting chance at building a viable business model, in the face of the market domination of Google and Facebook.

“Around the globe, politics has been brutalised by the transfer of fact-based public discourse to private networks fuelled by disinformation and division,” said Peter Lewis, director of the Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology.

“Throughout 2020 Australia’s trust in both government and media has improved, yet the media companies who delivered this information have gotten weaker with waves of closures and job cuts.

“The News Media Bargaining Code is an attempt to rebalance the equation – with platforms recognising the value of facts via a bargaining deal that would fund journalism into the future.

“This legislation demands cross-party support: a clear statement from all our elected representatives that will stand up for democracy. We know the big tech companies have been working hard to stop these changes and we can expect more threats over the summer.

“While it will be important to scrutinise the details of the legislation, and the Centre for Responsible Technology will be doing so, it is critical that all parties get behind the code to ensure its passage in early 2021.”

The Australia Institute's Centre for Responsible Technology will be publishing advertising materials over the next days, to push back on the tech giants’ campaign against the News Media Bargaining Code.