News Media vs Digital Platforms: Commercial radio backs draft code

Staff Writer
CRA chief executive officer Joan Warner.

The Australian radio industry says it “strongly supports” the proposed Code, which addresses the imbalance between news media and big tech’s digital platforms.

In a submission lodged with the ACCC, Commercial Radio Australia said it broadly supports the principles of compensation, bargaining options and dispute resolution measures.

Chief executive officer Joan Warner said CRA made several recommendations for amendments to ensure that the code would be practical and workable for its members.

“We appreciate the efforts of the ACCC to balance the interests of a wide range of stakeholders.

Our priority is to ensure that commercial radio stations are able to benefit from the code and are not inadvertently excluded or disadvantaged,” she said.

CRA’s submission recommends that the eligibility criteria for participation in the code should not be limited to public interest journalism.

“This will require amendment of the content test to remove the requirement that programs contain ‘predominantly core news content’ together with the limitation that content must be produced by a ‘journalist’,” CRA said.

CRA said it was vitally important for digital platforms to adhere to “minimum standards” for providing information to news media businesses and advance notice of changes to algorithms.

The submission also said the arbitration process should be refined to provide transparency on the division of cost and the selection of arbitrators.

Under the proposed arrangements, commercial media organisations would be able to enter into negotiations with Google and Facebook to determine an appropriate payment for news content.

An arbitration process would follow if the two parties are unable to reach an agreement.

The development of a mandatory code of conduct is part of the Government’s response to the ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry.

Final legislation is expected to be introduced to Parliament shortly after the conclusion of the consultation process.

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