Australian lawmakers expected to pass amendments to Facebook, Google law
Australian lawmakers are expected to approve amendments to landmark legislation to force Facebook and Alphabet’s Google to pay media companies for news content, despite opposition from some minor Australia.
Canberra: Australian lawmakers are expected to approve amendments to landmark legislation to force Facebook and Alphabet’s Google to pay media companies for news content, despite opposition from some minor political parties.
The government introduced amendments to the so-called Media Bargaining Code after Facebook last week escalated a dispute over the new laws by blocking Australian users from sharing and viewing news content on its popular social media platform. Australia’s Senate began debating the amendments on Wednesday. The ruling conservative Liberal Party does not have a majority in the upper house, but support from the opposition Labor Party is expected to be enough to pass the bill.
“What we’ve sworn to do is create a level playing field,” Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told Sky News on Wednesday.
“We’ve sought to sustain public interest journalism in this country, and we’ve also sought to enhance and encourage those commercial deals between the parties.”
Facebook on Tuesday said it would restore Australian users’ access to news in light of the compromise it had reached with the government.
Lee O’Connor, owner and editor of regional newspaper The Coonamble Times, said the amendments appeared to favour big media groups.
“It’s the vagueness of the language that’s the main concern, and the minister’s discretion is part of that,” O’Connor said.
Frydenberg has said he will give Facebook and Google time to strike deals with Australian media companies before deciding whether to enforce his new powers. (Reuters)