The Federal Government will start a review into the operation of the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code.
The Morrison Government will commence a review into the operation of the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code (the Code) to be conducted by Treasury in consultation with relevant agencies. The Code came into effect on 3 March 2021 and its governing legislation requires it to be reviewed within 12 months of operation.
The Code represents a world‑first that was introduced by the Government to address the bargaining power imbalance between news media businesses and digital platforms. The Code is intended to ensure that digital platforms fairly remunerate news businesses for the content they generate, thereby helping to sustain public interest journalism in Australia.
A key focus for the review will be assessing the extent to which commercial agreements between the digital platforms and Australian news businesses have contributed to this objective.
The Morrison Government has been pleased to see progress by both Google and Facebook in reaching commercial agreements with Australian news media businesses. Since February 2021 Google and Facebook have, between them, reportedly entered into around 30 commercial agreements.
The Morrison Government notes that some news organisations, including smaller and independent publishers, have expressed concerns they have been unable to reach a commercial deal. We urge the digital platforms to continue negotiating in good faith to ensure that the review is able to consider the full extent of progress made under the Code.
The Morrison Government has issued Terms of Reference to guide the Review. Treasury will issue a short consultation paper in the coming weeks inviting submissions from news businesses (including small and regional businesses), digital platforms and other interested parties.
Treasury will finalise a report to the Treasurer and the Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts by the end of September 2022.
Source: Joint press release with the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts | The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, Treasurer