Private Media owner Eric Beecher, spells out what this all means!
“The grim reality is that this legislation supports and enshrines the concentration of public interest journalism ownership in the hands of five billion dollar-plus organisations, dwarfing the news publishers who, between them, constitute diversity of Australian media,” Mr Beecher said.
“It arms five enormous organisations with additional funding to dominate and, in some cases, wipe out smaller players.”
The legislation provides a framework for publishers to hash out commercial deals with Facebook and Google for using and linking to their content.
But the government amended the laws this week to placate Facebook after it blocked the sharing and publishing of Australian news on its platform.
The most important of the four amendments means the code may have already teased out all of the concessions it is going to get from Facebook and Google – even though it has yet to become law.
This is because it requires that Treasurer Josh Frydenberg take into account whether a digital platform has “made a significant contribution to the sustainability of the Australian news industry through reaching commercial agreements with news media businesses” before he can specify that the code must apply to it.
In other words: Facebook and Google are only bound by the rules of the code if and when the Treasurer says so.
And given Google has already struck multiple deals with individual news publishers, it’s a big stick that the Treasurer may never choose to use.
Mr Strom, president of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance union that represents Australian journalists, told The New Daily the federal government should have focused instead on squeezing more tax out of the tech behemoths.
It could have then funnelled the extra revenue into expanding its Public Interest News Gathering Fund, while introducing more generous tax incentives for new media startups and for Australians who subscribe to local news, he said.
NOTE …. CAAN is still subject to a Facebook block to share any news reports or links! Latest report is that ‘NEWS’ will be allowed on Facebook tomorrow! Friday 26 February 2021!!