Information and Broadcasting Secretary, Apurva Chandra, has appealed to big-tech aggregators to share a part of their revenue with publishers of digital news.
In a message sent to the Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) conference on Friday, Chandra said Australia, Canada, France and European Union have already taken the initiative through their legislatures and strengthened their competition commissions to ensure a fair split of revenue among the creators of news content and the aggregators.
The big tech refers to large companies such as Facebook and Google and aggregators are platforms like Google News or Yahoo News that feature content from original publishers. A line of thought says social media companies like Facebook should pay news organizations when their content is shared on their platform.
Chandra said, “For the growth of the news industry, it is important that the digital news platform of all these publishers which are the creators of original content get a fair share of the revenue from the Big Tech platforms which act as an aggregator of the content created by others.”
Chandra said that post-Covid, there have been issues regarding the financial health of not just the digital news industry, but also the print news industry.
He said, “It is clear that if the traditional news industry continues to be negatively impacted, the future of journalism, our fourth pillar, is also hit. Thus, this is a question of journalism and credible content as well.”
Chandra said the traditional news industry has a history of service to the nation.
He said, “I understand that they have in place adequate systems of checks and balances to ensure that correct and factual news flows out and are a good example of our stated policy of self-regulation.”
Though news publishers abroad have supporter such a proposal, platforms like Facebook have resisted such moves. Their argument is that they are merely an intermediary and users share news content as per their will.
In 2021, Australia passed a law requiring Facebook and Google for news content hosted on their website. Initially, Facebook began all news content in Australia but later entered into deals with media organisations to host their content and share revenue.