What are the concerns you raised in Parliament today about Google and Facebook?
Traditional media is going through its worst phase financially in the recent history — first because of the pandemic and now because of giants like Google which are eating into their revenues. Traditional media invest thousands of crores… they collect and verify the news and disseminate it. Google is using this content and earning a lot of money through advertisement revenues. This is depriving the traditional media of its revenue share.
How do you suggest the government should address this?
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About two weeks ago, Australia passed a code under which these tech giants are compelled to share their revenue with print and electronic media. These platforms tried to retaliate by trying to block content from Australia but they have to relent and negotiate with the government. India should study the Australian model and draft a similar law or code…
You mentioned Facebook blocking content in retaliation. Do you think this was a warning shot to lawmakers elsewhere?
They tried but could not succeed. They had to surrender and come to the negotiation table. The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has spoken to the leaders of India, UK and Canada. All democratic countries should study Australia’s experience…
Do you think it will be easier for India to get the tech giants to fall in line given the size of our market?
A precedence has been set. We have the latecomers advantage and we now have the opportunity to learn from Australia’s experience… in terms of Internet users, we are Number 2 in the world. That does put us at an advantage.
The tech giants have argued against revenue sharing on the ground that newspapers can now reach a much larger audience because of Google and Facebook… Even if their audience has increased, their revenue pie is shrinking… increase in readers is not translating into increase in ad revenue which is crucial for their survival.
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