News Media Publishers United On Need For Swift Action On the Platforms

News media publishers are united on the need for swift action to address practices by the tech companies which will create consumer harm by leading to the closure of news media titles and the loss of the high-quality independent journalism, the News Media Association has said.  

In a letter yesterday to Paul Scully MP, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets, the NMA said that any Government delay while the broader competition regulatory regime for wider digital markets is developed, will be too late for the news industry which needs action now.

Fast action could be taken through the creation of specific statutory codes of conduct to ensure fair business relationships between platforms and publishers and mandating payment by platforms for publishers’ content.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s consultation on the detail of draft legislation for a “news media bargaining code” is a helpful draft statutory model for the UK, the NMA said.

“UK legislation on such lines would be strongly supported by the NMA, as national and regional news publishers are united on the need for this fast-interim action to sustain independent news media,” the NMA said.   

In the letter from Lord Black of Brentwood, NMA legal policy and regulatory affairs committee chairman, the NMA called for swift BEIS commitment to fast Government action on the Competition and Markets Authority’s report into the digital advertising marketplace.

The report recognises that the tech companies’ current practices will devastate the news industry if left unchecked and cause direct harm to consumers through the loss of trusted and accurate news media journalism.   

“Any loss of regional and local titles would be an immense loss to local communities,” the NMA said. “Local and regional newspapers and their journalism not only provide democratic oversight, champion their communities and advocate and campaign for them, but are also a key stimulator of local business growth, the long-established core of regional and local hubs for digital innovation, culture, and business.”

“Their commercial and advertising services, including digital expertise, are of particular value to SMEs and local businesses.”