Tuesday, 19 May 2020 10:11

ACCC seeks input to develop code for digital firms to pay for news Featured

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ACCC seeks input to develop code for digital firms to pay for news Pixabay

The Australian competition watchdog has called for input from the public as it looks to develop a draft mandatory code that will prescribe what digital companies like Facebook and Google should pay for the use of Australian news content.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission was tasked with creating the code on 20 April by the government, which brought forward its timetable for such a code by about five months.

The ACCC conducted an inquiry in 2018 and released the results to the government in June last year. The findings were made public in July.

At that time, the government said it would give its response by the end of the year; the shape of that was to ask the ACCC to work along with digital platforms like Facebook and Google to develop a voluntary code so that publishers were not disadvantaged.

In handing the ACCC the task, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said acceleration of the process was needed because the pressure that the media sector was under had "now been exacerbated by a sharp decline in advertising revenue driven by coronavirus".

The ACCC said on Tuesday that it had published a concepts paper which "sets out a range of issues for which the ACCC is seeking feedback and information; including what should be included in the draft bargaining code, how particular issues should be addressed, and how the code should operate".

“We are keen to tap views on all the issues and ideas involved with this code. Given the tight timeframe, we are seeking precise views on the content of the code and this concepts paper will facilitate this,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

“Our digital platforms inquiry highlighted the acute need to address the imbalance in bargaining position between news media and particular digital platforms, and that is what the code will do.”

The draft mandatory code has to be published before the end of July this year.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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