Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Australia finalized plans on Tuesday to make Facebook Inc. and Google pay its media outlets for news content, a world-first move aimed at protecting independent journalism that has been strongly opposed by the internet giants.

Under laws to go to Parliament this week, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the Big Tech companies must negotiate payments for content that appears on their platforms with local publishers and broadcasters. If they can’t strike a deal, a government-appointed arbitrator will decide for them.

“This is a huge reform, this is a world first, and the world is watching what happens here in Australia,” Mr. Frydenberg told reporters in the capital Canberra.

Story continues below advertisement

“Our legislation will help ensure that the rules of the digital world mirror the rules of the physical world ... and ultimately sustain our media landscape.”

The law amounts to the strongest check of the tech giants’ market power globally, and follows three years of inquiry and consultation, ultimately spilling into a public row in August when the U.S. companies warned it may stop them offering their services in Australia.

Facebook Australia managing director Will Easton said the company would review the legislation and “engage through the upcoming parliamentary process with the goal of landing on a workable framework to support Australia’s news ecosystem.”

A representative for Google declined to comment, saying the company had yet to see the final version of the proposed law.

Until recently, most countries have stood by as advertisers redirect spending to the world’s biggest social-media website and search engine, starving newsrooms of their main revenue source and bringing widespread shutdowns and job losses.

But regulators are starting to test their power to rein in the two megacorporations, which take more than four-fifths of Australian online advertising spending between them, according to Mr. Frydenberg.

Google said in October it plans to pay US$1-billion to publishers globally for their news over the next three years.

Story continues below advertisement

The new product called Google News Showcase will launch first in Germany, where it has signed up German newspapers including Der Spiegel, Stern, Die Zeit, and in Brazil with Folha de S.Paulo, Band and Infobae.

Google last month said it had also signed copyright agreements with six French newspapers and magazines, including national dailies Le Monde and Le Figaro.

“It’s both very ambitious and very necessary,” said Denis Muller, an Honorary Fellow at University of Melbourne’s Centre for Advancing Journalism, referring to the Australian law.

“Taking their news content without paying for it, in exchange for a very questionable reward of ‘reach,’ seems to be a very unfair and uneven and ultimately democratically damaging arrangement.”

News Corp Australia executive chairman Michael Miller said the law was “a significant step forward in the decade-long campaign to achieve fairness in the relationship between Australian news media companies and the global tech giants.” In May, News Corp stopped printing more than 100 Australian newspapers, citing declining advertising.

In changes to draft legislation announced earlier this year that might favour the tech companies, the final version of the law would not affect news content distributed on Facebook’s Instagram subsidiary or Google’s Youtube. Facebook and Google would also be allowed to include in the negotiations the value of clicks their platforms directed to news websites.

Story continues below advertisement

But Mr. Frydenberg added to the list of media companies with whom the tech giants must negotiate, saying public broadcaster the Australian Broadcasting Corp. and specialist public broadcaster SBS would be included, along with dominant private sector outlets such as News Corp and Nine Entertainment Co. Holdings Ltd.

Be smart with your money. Get the latest investing insights delivered right to your inbox three times a week, with the Globe Investor newsletter. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies