The Treasury releases its final report on the News Media Bargaining Code

The Federal Government has released the final report of Treasury’s statutory review into the News Media Bargaining Code.

The review found that in the first year of the News Media Bargaining Code more than 30 commercial agreements were made between digital platforms, Google and Meta, and a cross section of news businesses.

The review also found the agreements were highly unlikely to have been made without the Code.

Treasury’s review made a number of recommendations, including that Government consider:

  • directing the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to prepare periodic reports on which digital platforms should be covered by the Code;
  • whether ACCC information-gathering powers could be used to obtain information about commercial agreements between digital platforms and news businesses in the context of its response to Interim Report No.5 of the ACCC’s Digital Platforms Services Inquiry; and
  • conducting a further review of the Code after four years’ operation.

Assistant Treasurer, Stephen Jones, says, “The review shows the Code has been successful balancing bargaining power between news media and digital platforms.” 

“Digital platforms must continue to negotiate in good faith with news businesses to ensure they are fairly remunerated for the news content they create.” 

Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland, says, “The News Media Bargaining Code is one of a number of measures in place to support the news media sector in Australia.”

 “The Code is directed at addressing bargaining power imbalances between news businesses and digital platforms while other measures, such as direct funding support for the national broadcasters, community broadcasters and regional news publishers, address other important media policy issues.”

Commercial Radio & Audio says it was pleased the Code now provided a mechanism for Australian media to negotiate with Google and Meta but remained concerned that the majority of commercial radio stations have not been able to benefit from it.

CRA CEO Ford Ennals says, “Radio plays a critical role in live and local Australian news reporting. We will continue to engage with Government and the ACMA on this issue as we believe further action is required to designate digital platforms under the Code.”

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