Indian publishers exploring Australia-style bargaining code

Dec 21, 2022 at 09:29 am by admin

Indian newsmedia companies have seen Australia’s newsmedia bargaining code… and they’d like something like it.

After diving into the detail with former ACCC chair Rod Sims during a virtual round table last month, the consensus is that something similar would benefit India.

The event was organised by the Digital News Publishers Association, an organisation which has taken a new lease of life after new leadership took over earlier this year.

The Hindu reported that among the “new faces” are Amar Ujala managing director Tanmay Maheshwari, now DNA’s chairperson, and Manorama Online chief executive Mariam Mathew as vice chairperson. NDTV chief strategy officer Arijit Chatterjee has been elected treasurer of the 17-member group.

Among members are The Hindu, The Indian Express, NDTV, Hindustan Times, Dainik Jagran, Malayala Manorama and India Today.

Last year, a DNPA petition led to India’s competition commission calling an inquiry into search giants’ alleged dominance and “non-transparent attitude” to compensation for news publishers.

A webinar last month saw Sims (pictured) sharing experience on Australia’s news media bargaining code, which he said was “a great way” of getting money from platforms – which did not produce journalistic content – for journalism and media businesses.

“Governments need to support certain types of journalism but working out a way forward with the big digital platforms is absolutely fundamental and the code does that very well,” he said.

Sims explained the three provisions in Australia’s code – negotiation, arbitration, and collective bargaining – which had led to Google and Facebook together paying more than A$200 million a year so far to Australian news media organisations in that country.

Another contributor was Emma McDonald – now a senior policy adviser at Andrew and Nicola Forrest’s Minderoo Foundation – who spoke of the “tense and stressful times” in her dealings with Google and Facebook as a senior policy adviser for Australia’s communications minister. However, she said there was “a collective will of the publishers to support the legislation that was finally introduced.

“It is really important that governments hold their nerve when it comes to negotiating the final stages of legislation,” she said.

Sims said the crucial step, for India, will be getting a law passed. “Then it becomes the country’s law and will protect journalism going into the future, just like I hope the news media bargaining code will do in Australia,” he said.

Star News Group managing director Paul Thomas told the webinar he believed India should also provide a legislative framework that forces platforms to the table.

A further webinar has explored Canada’s approach to the issues, in which the draft Online News Act empowers the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to look after negotiations and deals, expected to deliver substantial revenue for publishers.

Sections: Digital business


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