Friday, July 12, 2024

Level playing field for Big Tech and news publishers soon, govt mulls separate rule

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The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is mulling a separate law to ensure fair competition and transactions between the Big Tech and digital news publishers, claimed a Mint report.

This legal framework will draw inspiration from other countries like Australia which have taken strict measures to ensure a level playing field, requiring companies like Google and Meta to compensate for using news content on their platforms.

The government has already completed public consultation on this new law, the report stated.

It was reported last month that in an inter-ministerial meeting, discussions were held for a new legal framework for digital media to protect them from Big Tech’s anti-competitive practices. Chaired by the Information & Broadcasting ( I&B) Secretary, the meeting discussed digital news publishers’ concerns about their weak bargaining power with Big Tech.

It was then reported that a separate law for digital news publishers is being contemplated in addition to the Digital Competition law that is in the works to introduce an ex-ante framework to rein in Big Tech’s anti-competitive conduct.

In addition to the proposed Digital Competition Bill, the new framework can give much-needed respite to digital news publishers, who for long, have been fighting against the dominance and market power of certain Big Tech companies in digital advertising. Big Tech companies are monetising the content generated by news publishers by way of advertising revenues, leaving publishers with only a small fraction of such revenues.

The separate law is said to be drawing inspiration from Australia’s New Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code.

The Digital Competition Bill and the report of the Committee of Digital Competition Law (CDCL) has not recommended any specific bargaining guidelines for digital news publishers in realising fair share of advertising revenues garnered by Big Tech from their platforms. Hence, the new rule is touted as more significant.

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