Federal Government to Revise News Media Code of Negotiation

The federal government will undertake a review of the Mandatory Code of Negotiation of News Media and Digital Platforms, which will begin on March 2.

The Treasury has published the terms of reference for the review, which will be done in consultation with the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and Australian Communications and Media Authority.

The review will report to the Treasurer and Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts in September 2022 and a consultation document is expected to be released in the coming weeks.

Industry body Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) said in a statement that the federal government’s review of the operation of the code would be an opportunity to consider whether stronger actions are needed to urge Google and Facebook to enter into content agreements with broadcasters.

Joan Warnerchief executive, said the digital giants have yet to reach commercial deals with the majority of commercial radio stations despite the ACCC’s approval of the CRA last October to negotiate payment for content radio broadcast on these platforms.

“We continue to pursue business results, but if Google and Facebook are unwilling to negotiate fair compensation, stronger actions and designation may be required,” she said.

“We remain concerned that the current status quo will leave small media such as radio stations at a competitive disadvantage.

She continued: “Commercial radio operates newsrooms across the country and generates a substantial amount of local news and information consumed by Australians on digital platforms.”

“The Morrison government today said the Treasury would carry out a review of the code, as required, within 12 months of it coming into force. When granting the ARC clearance, the ACCC said “commercial radio stations play an important role in providing regional and local reporting,” it added.

CRA represents 261 member radio stations across metropolitan and regional Australia, including smaller operators across regional areas.

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