ACMA given $4.2m to enforce News Media Code

The Australian Government is setting aside  $4.2 million in the 2021-22 Budget for the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to support the implementation and administration of the government’s new News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code.

This is despite numerous publishers signing agreements with tech giants Google and Facebook outside of the code, including News Corp, Seven West Media, Australian Community Media, Private Media, Solstice Media and Schwartz Media.

Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, Paul Fletcher, said the funding would provide ACMA with the resources to enforce the code.

“Our investment will enable ACMA to fulfil its functions under the code, including administering an eligibility scheme, registering news businesses, and maintaining a register of arbitrators,” he said.

The world-first legal framework has been designed to provide news publishers with a framework to negotiate with digital platforms “in good faith” for the news content that is shared on the digital platforms.

“We welcome the reports that Google and Facebook have reached commercial agreements with some news businesses for the use of their content, and encourage the parties to continue to negotiate deals in good faith,” Fletcher added.

Many small and independent publishers have expressed disappointment and frustration in regards to the code giving larger media companies an unfair advantage.

Chair of InDaily’s Solstice Media and Crikey’s Private Media, Eric Beecher, told the senate committee prior to the formalisation of the code that the Australian market is dominated by an entertainment company (Nine Entertainment Co) and foreign-controlled newsrooms (News Corp and Guardian Australia which is owned by UK based The Guardian).

“They’ll [big media companies] get more money to make more money,” he said at the time.

Both Solstice Media and Private Media have signed agreements with the digital platforms.

Members of Country Press Australia (CPA) recently received permission from The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to collectively bargain with Google and Facebook over payments for news content.

The CPA represents 81 members and 160 regional newspapers the CPA represents.

The code will be reviewed by Treasury within one year of its commencement to ensue it is delivering outcomes that are consistent with the government’s policy intent.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.