With the hashtag #WaitingOnZuck and a 24-hour strike, the country’s independent media have drawn attention to failed deals with the web giants.
Australia’s media law, which forces internet giants to pay publishers for news, may have some flaws. Currently, several major Australian publishers have already signed agreements with major tech companies to push their content. News Corp, Seven West, Nine, and ABC bruoadcaster are all paid for by Google and Facebook. Others such as Guardian, Yahoo Australia, Times News Group and Australian Community Media have only reached deals with one of the two companies.
“Frozen” news from small publishers
But the situation is different for small and medium-sized publishers, who are currently excluded, and who have thus decided to switch to de facto methods. ten independent news sites, The Official Gazette says:They “freeze” their news in protest of the non-payment for their content.
Accompanied by the hashtag #WaitingOnZuck, the symbolic 24-hour protest comes as the state reviews the landmark law. “We and our readers are waiting for Zuckerberg to come to the table, do transparent and fair business deals and pay for high-quality independent journalism. The initiative warns of a future without independent news if publishers do not get a fair deal and a level playing field,” they added.
The role of Google and Facebook in Australia
An agreement was reached with major publishers before the government intervened, the site reported, suggesting there may be a code gap. In fact, the legislation only binds companies that have been designated as technology platforms by the Australian Department of the Treasury. So far, it appears that neither Facebook nor Google has been rated as such.
A small publisher attacked: “The mainstream media has been largely silent about the failures in media regulation, possibly because their loyalty has been bought off by the social media giants.”
Another added: “Facebook and Google are able to pick winners and losers in Australian media, which is something the Australian public should care deeply about.”
They concluded that the only way independent media could survive was to designate Facebook and Google as the platforms.
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