Paying Dues

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New Zealand’s conservative coalition government will advance a new bill that will compel digital platforms to compensate media companies for news content, a measure intended to help media companies struggling with falling revenue, Reuters reported.

The Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill, introduced by the former Labour government, will be presented in Parliament with amendments to support local media revenue.

Communications Minister Paul Goldsmith said the proposed changes would make the bill more closely aligned with Australia’s 2021 “digital bargaining” law.

That law grants the government the authority to order internet giants, such as Meta and Google, to negotiate payment deals with media outlets if voluntary agreements are not reached.

Goldsmith said the changes would also mandate the communications minister to specify which digital platforms fall under the law’s jurisdiction. He added that an independent regulator would be appointed to oversee the bill’s implementation and enforcement.

Meta criticized the draft law for ignoring the realities of how its platform works, user preferences and the free value it provided outlets. Google has yet to comment.

When Canada introduced a similar law last year, Meta blocked news content from displaying on Facebook in that country. The social media giant has also announced plans to cease payments to Australian media.

Currently, the right-wing ACT New Zealand party, a partner in the ruling coalition, opposed the bill, prompting the government to seek support from other parties.

The opposition Labour said it would back the bill and is planning to review the amendments.

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