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Enact law to make Google, FB, YouTube share ad revenue with news media: Sushil Modi tells govt

Rajya Sabha MP Sushil Modi said Google, Facebook & YouTube end up benefiting from efforts of traditional news media that collect, verify & disseminate credible information.

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New Delhi: Rajya Sabha MP Sushil Modi said in Parliament Wednesday the Narendra Modi government should enact a law, like what Australia has done, to make tech giants such as Google and Facebook share advertisement revenue with traditional news media, which he said was “in deep financial crisis”.

He said Google, Facebook and YouTube end up benefiting from efforts of the traditional news media that invest efforts to collect, verify and disseminate “credible information”.

“Government must make Google, Facebook and YouTube pay the print and news channels for the news content they are using freely. Sir, as we all know the traditional news media like the print media, news channels and news broadcasters are passing through the worst phase in recent history. They are indeed in a financial crisis. Earlier, it was because of the pandemic and now it is because of giants like YouTube, Facebook and Google,” Modi said in the Rajya Sabha.

Stating that advertisement is the main source of revenue for the news industry, the MP said Google, Facebook and YouTube have taken away “the largest share of advertisement”.

“We all know that these traditional news media, they make heavy investment employing anchors, journalists, reporters. They gather the news, they verify the news and they deliver credible information. Advertisement is the main source of revenue for the news industry. But in the past few years, with the advent of tech giants like Google, Facebook and YouTube, the largest share of advertisement is taken away by these tech giants.”

Modi added: “I would urge that we follow a country like Australia because we all know that Australia has taken the lead by enacting a law ‘News media bargaining code’.”

Also read: Facebook reaches deal with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, agrees to pay for content in Australia

‘Australia has set a precedent’

Australia’s parliament last month passed the world’s first law to force digital giants such as Google and Facebook to pay local publishers for their news content, ensuring “news media businesses are fairly remunerated for the content they generate”.

The legislation — the News Media Bargaining Code — had been fiercely opposed by the tech giants, and is seen as a test case for similar laws around the world.

Mentioning the law, the MP said in Rajya Sabha: “In Australia, Google threatened and for one week they blacked out the news on their portal, but ultimately it was enacted and they had to surrender.”

Modi said Australia has set a precedent, and India should follow it.

“Australia has set a precedent and now France and other European countries are making laws for advertisement revenue sharing. I would urge the government that the way they have notified intermediary guidelines and digital media ethics code rules 2011 to regulate social media and OTT platforms, in the same way they should enact a law on the pattern of Australia court so we can compel Google to share revenue with traditional media,” he said.

“India should take a lead in making Google and Facebook pay a fair share of earnings they make from domestically produced news content on the internet,” Modi added.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mazumdar)

Also read: The meaning of govt’s new IT rules for OTT, digital media & the serious concerns they raise

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