Australia’s news media bargaining code to be bolstered

Australia’s news media bargaining code will be strengthened after the Albanese government accepted all recommendations made to improve the framework.

Dec 18, 2023, updated Dec 18, 2023

Recommendations to strengthen Australian laws forcing tech giants to pay news publishers for content have been accepted by the Albanese government.

A review by Treasury of the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code found more than 30 commercial agreements had been struck in its first year and made five recommendations to improve the framework.

The government announced it would implement all recommendations.

In response, another review of the code will take place in early 2025, and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will be directed to prepare reports on the digital platforms that should be covered by it.

The code requires digital platforms including Google and Facebook to negotiate fair prices for using news companies’ content.

It was introduced to support the sustainability of the Australian news media by addressing bargaining power imbalances between digital platforms and businesses.

The review found the agreements were highly unlikely to have been made without the code.

Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones said the government was glad to support the “sensible” recommendations.

“But let us be very clear: we already have the power to designate digital platforms and we are prepared to use it,” he said.

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“We want to see news outlets and digital platforms come together and negotiate in good faith.”

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said the government wanted to ensure the sustainability of public interest journalism in the digital age.

“Supporting these recommendations will help improve the framework overall and ensure Australian news media businesses are properly remunerated for their journalistic content through commercial deals with platforms,” she said.


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