Free TV wants improvements to News Media Code

Piotr Cichosz via Unsplash.

The news media trading code, introduced just over 12 months ago, needs further improvement, according to Free TV Australia submission to a code review

Bridget Fair, CEO of Free TV, said: “Although the digital platforms have not yet been designated under the code, these valuable commercial agreements would not have been possible without the incentives of the framework.

“For a long time, digital platforms have refused to pay a fair price for news content, despite the value it creates on their services. It is essential that the Bargaining Code legislation is upheld, to support the sustainability of Australian media.

“Digital platforms – Google, Facebook and their affiliates, continue to dominate the search and social media markets.

Free TV’s submission also included recommendations for improving the Code’s framework, particularly as commercial agreements were to be renewed, including:

• A statement of expectations on digital platforms that establishes an intent to designate if business agreements are not entered into and maintained with all relevant news media companies.

• Any naming intent, including social video platforms like Youtube.

• Removal of the “significant contribution” criterion from the designation criteria to reinforce that all eligible news media companies are able to seek agreements under the Code if the Treasurer decides to designate a digital platform service.

• Commit to biennial reviews of the functioning of the framework.

“Future revisions to the Code should also consider defining core and covered news content and the possibility of streamlining the ACMA registration process,” Fair said.

“As the framework continues to mature, it is important that it continues to reflect the evolving nature of Australian media businesses”

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