11. February 2019 12:44:37 IST
The head of the Australian Competition Commissioner warned Monday that strict regulation of technology giants like Google and Facebook is needed to protect the future of independent persons journalism.
Australian Competition and Consumers Commission (ACCC) chairman Rod Sims said Google and Facebook's market power has devastated the Australian news media.
While the number of journalists working in Australian newspapers fell 20 percent from 2014 to 2017, revenue for print ads fell. Sims said Google and Facebook had made nearly 70 percent of all online ad spending.
"This shift in online advertising revenues and digital platforms has limited the ability of media companies to fund news and journalism," Sims said in remarks prepared for handover to the Sydney International Institute of Communications.
"We can not just leave the production of news and journalism to market forces," added Sims, whose agency has extensively explored the impact of digital platforms on the news industry in Australia.
While the platforms take the vast majority of Sims said the ad revenue does not produce original news.
"They select, curate, rate, organize, and rank the news produced by third parties," he said, noting that this market power "increased the risk of filter bubbles and unreliable news on digital platforms."  "Holding such critical positions in the media and advertising markets has special responsibilities," he said.
The ACCC launched its one-year digital platform review, and by the end of this week, will accept the final contributions from industry players before she issued her final report in June.
Sims however signaled on Monday that the final recommendations would include calls for far-reaching new regulations for the digital giants and the opaque algorithms they use to disseminate news and advertisements.
For digital platforms, there is virtually no media Vorsch and this leads to regulatory inequalities between the media sectors that the digital platforms seem to offer. An unfair advantage, "he said.
A media regulator, he said, should have the power to force platforms to find out how news is ranked in search results, including whether advertiser-funded content is ranked higher than paid content, or whether original news content is going through Counterfeit stories and so-called Clickbait exceeded.
The ACCC might also recommend that platforms serve content that is produced by recognized news media as a quality reduction against disinformation.
Finally, Sims proposed a series of proposals in support of local and independent journalism, including tax breaks for individuals subscribing to news media who meet a range of quality standards.
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