Friday, 12 February 2021 17:51

Parliament to consider news media code legislation beginning next week Featured

Parliament to consider news media code legislation beginning next week Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The news media code will be considered in Parliament in the week beginning 15 February after the Senate Economics Legislation Committee submitted its report on the bill to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Friday evening.

In its report, as expected, the panel recommended no changes be made to legislation to establish the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code.

It also listed the arguments for and against the bill which were raised during hearings on 22 January and 1 February.

The Greens members on the panel recommended that the bill should be amended to require news publishers to spend the money from the Code on public interest journalism.

A second recommendation was for the government to set up a permanent Public Interest News Gathering Trust and ensure that AAP was supported through public funding.

In a statement released along with Communications Minister Paul Fletcher, Frydenberg said: "The world-leading Code was developed after extensive analysis from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, including almost three years of public consultation.

"The purpose of the Code is to address the bargaining power imbalance identified by the ACCC between digital platforms and news media businesses in order to support a diverse and sustainable Australian news media sector, including Australia’s public broadcasters.

"The Code creates a framework for the parties to reach commercial arrangements, so that news media business are fairly remunerated for the content they generate and which digital platforms benefit from.

"The government expects all parties to continue to work constructively towards reaching commercial agreements in the spirit of collaboration and good faith encouraged by the Code.

"The Code will be reviewed by Treasury one year after its operation to ensure it is delivering outcomes that are consistent with the government’s policy intent."

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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