Australian lawmakers expected to pass amendments to Facebook, Google law

Some politicians are concerned the change allows Frydenberg to exempt Facebook or Google from the new laws even if they do not strike deals with all media companies. "This changes the bill significantly," independent senator Rex Patrick, who plans to vote against the amended bill, told Reuters.

Reuters | Canberra | Updated: 24-02-2021 11:19 IST | Created: 24-02-2021 08:19 IST
Australian lawmakers expected to pass amendments to Facebook, Google law
Image Credit: Flickr

Australian lawmakers are expected to approve amendments to landmark legislation to force Alphabet's Google and Facebook to pay media companies for news content, despite opposition from some minor political parties.

The government introduced amendments to the so-called Media Bargaining Code after Facebook last week escalated a dispute over the new laws by blocking Australian users from sharing and viewing news content on its popular social media platform. Australia's Senate began debating the amendments on Wednesday. The ruling conservative Liberal Party does not have a majority in the upper house, but support from the opposition Labor Party is expected to be enough to pass the bill.

Facebook on Tuesday said it would restore Australian users' access to news in light of the compromise it had reached with the government. In one major change, Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will be given the discretion to decide that either Facebook or Google need not be subject to the code if they make a "significant contribution to the sustainability of the Australian news industry."

The original legislation had required the tech giants to submit to forced arbitration if they could not reach a commercial deal with Australian news companies for their content, effectively allowing the government to set a price. Some politicians are concerned the change allows Frydenberg to exempt Facebook or Google from the new laws even if they do not strike deals with all media companies.

"This changes the bill significantly," independent senator Rex Patrick, who plans to vote against the amended bill, told Reuters. "The big players could successfully negotiate with Facebook or Google. The minister then doesn't designate them, and all the little players miss out."

Frydenberg has said he will give Facebook and Google time to strike deals with Australian media companies before deciding whether to enforce his new powers.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Viral variants and vaccine nationalism pose two-pronged threat to Covid victory

... ...

Tracking Fintech during COVID-19: Harnessing power of technology

Its abundantly clear now that as fintech cements its place in the financial sector, accelerated further by the COVID-19 pandemic, it could open the sector to new possibilities by harnessing the power of technology to deliver financial ...

Tectonic turns: How technology shaped healthcare over the decades

Tracing an episodic evolution, with technology at the interface of human and his health....

World Water Day sees crises of inequality in countries both rich and poor

... ...

Videos

Latest News

Iran almost ready to start enriching uranium to 60% purity - IAEA

Iran is almost ready to start enriching uranium to 60 purity at an above-ground plant at Natanz and plans to add 1,024 first-generation IR-1 centrifuges to an underground plant Tehran says was hit by sabotage, the U.N. atomic watchdog said ...

WRAPUP 5-European powers warn Iran over 'dangerous' uranium enrichment move

The European countries party to the Iran nuclear deal told Tehran on Wednesday its decision to enrich uranium at 60 purity, bringing the fissile material closer to bomb-grade, was contrary to efforts to revive the 2015 accord. But in an app...

Boris Johnson reduces length of India visit due to COVID-19

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reduced the length of his visit to New Delhi at the end of this month due to the COVID-19 situation in India, Downing Street said on Wednesday.Johnson was to spend a few days in India starting April 26 as...

COVID SCIENCE-Moderna vaccines promising vs variants in mouse study; no higher risk for poor outcomes found with UK variant

The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.Vaccines designed for virus variants show promise in mice...

Give Feedback