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Saturday, 17 April 2021

Australian media reforms pass after last-ditch changes

Duration: 01:57s 0 shares 3 views
Australian media reforms pass after last-ditch changes
Australian media reforms pass after last-ditch changes

The Australian parliament on Thursday passed a new law designed to force Alphabet's Google and Facebook to pay media companies for content used on their platforms in reforms that could be replicated in other countries.

Libby Hogan reports.

Australia passed a world first media law on Thursday designed to force big tech to pay media companies for their content.

The reforms are a check on companies like Facebook and Google that could be copied in other countries.

The legislation has been watered down after a standoff between the government and Facebook over the past week, including Facebook's drastic move to block all news for Australian users.

That decision set off a storm of criticism.

Then the social media giant took a U-turn and "refriended" Australia on Tuesday, after last minute concessions were made by the government, including a longer period for tech companies to strike a deal with media before the government intervenes.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg trumpeted the law's passage as a win for supporting independent journalism stating it was helping "to sustain public-interest journalism." Facebook has also claimed the media code's last-ditch changes as a victory.

But not everyone is happy with the amendments.

The changes let firms like Facebook and Google off the hook if they make so-called 'significant contribution' to Australian media.

Some lawmakers and publishers have warned that could unfairly leave smaller media companies out in the cold.

For example, a fixed payment from Facebook or Google doesn't lead to more money invested in journalism by major media firms. When it was announced - Google and Facebook fiercely opposed the law.

Since then Google has struck deals with several firms, including Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp.

And this week, Australia's national broadcaster ABC and other TV networks said they were in talks with Facebook.

Other world leaders have followed the saga closely as countries like Canada and Britain consider similar steps that may loosen Big Tech's grip on news.

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