We expect the federal government will soon introduce legislation that will be modelled on Australia’s News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code.
The Australian Code, which focuses on online content, came into effect on March 2, 2021. Since then, Google and Facebook (now Meta) have reached voluntary commercial deals with a significant number of news media organisations. They have also implemented other voluntary initiatives to support journalism in Australia, such as Google’s ‘Digital News Academy’ and Meta’s ‘Journalism Accelerator Project’.
The details of these commercial deals are not required to be released. News Media Canada reached out to the Australia Australian Competition & Consumer Commission for an update, and the ACCC relayed the following:
- At least 30 agreements have been reached with a range of media organizations, including small and regional publications (see Appendix).
- The ACCC authorized Country Press Australia (which represents roughly 180 independent and regional mastheads) to bargain collectively with each of Google and Meta.
- The ACCC has similarly published two collective bargaining class exemption notices lodged by the Minderoo Foundation on behalf of 23 small publishers, which allows them to collectively bargain with each of Google and Meta.
- Public reports suggest that, in total, these deals with Google and Meta total several hundreds of millions of dollars per annum and have resulted in strong hiring environments for Australian journalists. Significant Australian news businesses have also committed to increase investment in journalism and regional news.
We have yet to see the Canadian legislation, so we don’t know what definition the government will use for those eligible for collective negotiation. For example: Will it be qualified Canadian journalism organizations? Will broadcasters be included and, if so, will the CBC be included? News Media Canada is working to ensure that our members – large and small – whose content provides value to the Big Tech platforms and services, will benefit fully from collective negotiation.
Once the legislation is introduced, we will provide you with an op ed that we encourage you to publish.