Small to medium digital publishers jointly created a news freeze to protest the unfairness and obscene power imbalance between independent journalism and digital platforms namely Facebook, now known as Meta and Google.
Last Tuesday morning over 30 publishers suspended their Facebook news feeds and displayed instead a message against a red backdrop stating
“Sorry No News Today - We’re waiting on ZUCK.
Protect the future of news and get Zuck to pay up before we lose our small and medium publishers.”
Last year Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg dramatically banned all news media in Australia from posting and sharing news on his platforms. This tactic was deployed to send a message to the Government if it went ahead with its new Media Bargaining Code. A code that was designed to address the imbalance of both power and profits that threatened digital publishers.
The Government acquiesced to Zuckerbergs demands and deals were made that benefited big-tech and big-media. Leaving out independent publishers.
In the year since the code was launched, nothing has changed.
Wendy Williams Editor of Pro Bono News writes
Meta has had more than enough time to demonstrate that they believe in paying for the quality independent journalism that their business model continues to benefit from enormously.
Josh Frydenberg (and the Department of Treasury) is currently reviewing the impact of the code.
Which means is an opportunity to ensure that the code holds Meta to account and helps to build a sustainable news industry that is independent, diverse and representative of all Australians.
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