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Realising The Potential & Paying The Price

It is well known that in Democracy, the value of news is more than immense. However, proper production of the same is seldom an easy matter and somebody has to bear the responsibility of the same to a large extent, if not to the fullest. Finally, large Corporate Houses, like Google, Facebook, and others, which have successfully transformed Media Core Technologies in order to meet Digital Demands of the Technology companies, have been forced to accept this responsibility.

The Government of Australia has announced that Google or Facebook would have to pay to the Media Houses for publishing any pieces of news. If the rule becomes a Law in 2021, Google, Facebook and other companies will no longer be able to use news from any broadsheet or television channel for free, or even at a low price. The Administration of Prime Minister Scott John Morrison in Canberra has made it clear that the price of news should be determined through negotiations with the Media Houses, and it should be paid.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Google has opposed the move, fearing it would set an example to other countries. The US-based Multinational Technology Organisation, which has thrived on Technological innovations, has even threatened to stop the use of its search engine in Australia. However, this unprecedented reaction has failed to perturb Prime Minister Morrison. The Premier has stated that the Australian Parliament will decide the rules for multinationals to operate on its soil. He is well aware of the fact that it is the duty of a Government to boost the financial strength of the Media Industry, as strong media are essential for Democracy. Hence, the Organisations, relying upon Digital Technologies, would have to pay a fair price for news items.

Earlier, France had taken a similar position, prompting Google to start the process of getting licenses from various French news agencies. France is also planning to make rules and regulations regarding copyright a Law. Other European countries may also follow France in the coming days…

The Global Community has welcomed the move made by Australia and France. The News Industry is heavily dependent on Advertisement. The Media House, which has more readerships, generates more revenue from advertisements, and invests more to produce quality news. However, the rise of Digital Technology companies has changed the equation in recent times. They publish news, produced by other Media Houses, digitally for little cost.

Furthermore, the growing popularity of the Digital Media has helped them get more advertisements. Google and Facebook get AUD 81 for every AUD 100 received from advertising in Australia. In the US, Google’s yearly revenue, generated from digital advertising, is equivalent to the revenue generated by all the major Media Houses! However, companies, like Google and Facebook, are not interested in sharing their revenues, generated from advertisements, with the Media Houses! After Prime Minister Morrison took a tough stance against the Digital Technology Companies, Microsoft has said that it supports Australia’s plans to make the biggest digital platforms pay for news and will help small businesses transfer their advertising to Bing, if Google quits the country.

The Australian dailies

In last 10 years, quite a number of broadsheets and television channels have been shut down due to lack of advertisements, across the Globe. Hence, many journalists have lost their jobs. Also, there has been a decrease in investment in producing quality news. Ultimately, it is Democracy that has to suffer. Now, it has become the responsibility of elected Governments to hold those Digital Technology Companies accountable to the Media Houses. Regrettably, companies, like Google and Facebook, evade their moral obligations in the absence of proper rules and regulations. It is to be noted that like Media Firms, the Social Media Companies, too, rely on content, which is also their main source of revenue. India, too, badly needs such a Law…

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