Australia to force technology giants Facebook and Google to pay for news content

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Social media giants Facebook and Google will be forced to pay Australian media companies for sharing their content or face sanctions under a landmark decision by the Morrison government

The move comes as the media industry reels from tumbling advertising revenue, already in decline before the Covid 19 coronavirus outbreak collapsed the market.

Last week New Zealand media companies implored the Government to redirect its advertising from the likes of Facebook and Google to provide immediate cash relief, while special tax status and different ownership models should be considered as longer-term solutions.

But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that the Government will continue to advertise with Google and Facebook because that’s where New Zealanders are.

Academic and former New Zealand Herald editor Gavin Ellis told the Epidemic Response Committee the media were facing an existential crisis as advertising revenues plummet due to the coronavirus pandemic.

MediaWorks earlier this month asked its staff to take a 15 per cent pay cut, while Radio Sport and all Bauer’s New Zealand magazine titles – including The Listener and North and South – have closed.

Bauer’s closure also meant the loss of more than 200 jobs – though Ardern has noted that Bauer had refused to take the Government’s wage subsidy.

Last Tuesday NZME, which owns the Herald and Newstalk ZB, announced it was making 200 positions redundant and asking higher-paid staff to take a 15 per cent pay cut for 12 weeks.

The Government has said it will make an announcement in the next week to help media

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