Australian media code becomes law

The Federal Government’s new media code for platforms like Google and Facebook has passed the House of Representatives, making it law.

The News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code had passed the Senate after amendments last night.

Under the mandatory code of conduct, technology giants Google and Facebook would be required to negotiate with Australian media companies over payment for news content and notify them of algorithm changes.

It followed a direction from the Morrison Government in December 2019 to facilitate the development of voluntary codes to address bargaining power imbalances between digital platforms and news media businesses.

The passage of the law was celebrated by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

“This is a significant milestone,” Mr Frydenberg tweeted.

“This legislation will help level the playing field & see Australian news media businesses paid for generating original content.”

The law was amended earlier this week after Facebook decided to ban all news-related posts from Australian users.

They lifted the ban after a strong backlash across the world.

The development of a code of conduct is part of the government’s response to the ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry final report to promote competition, enhance consumer protection and support a sustainable Australian media landscape in the digital age.

“What we’ve sought to do is create a level playing field to ensure a fair go for Australian news media businesses and that when they generate original content, they are fairly paid for it,” Mr Frydenberg said in July.

“We want it to be in accordance with our law and we want it to be fair, and that is what has motivated us with this mandatory code.””We want Google and Facebook to continue to provide these services to the Australian community which are so much loved and used by Australians. But we want it to be on our terms.