New Zealand wants media and tech giants deals

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Wellington | New Zealand on Wednesday asked Google and Facebook to sign agreements with media in the archipelago similar to those recently reached in Australia.

New Zealand media minister Kris Faafoi said he was considering adopting regulations to force tech giants to pay news publishers for their content. A measure that will be intended to help the media sector, in great difficulty.

However, the minister said he favored the conclusion of agreements – within the framework of negotiations between the country’s press groups and the American giants – rather than the adoption of binding regulations.

“Last week, I met (representatives) from Google and Facebook,” he told a parliamentary committee.

“I am convinced that the business discussions that are taking place between traditional media and digital platforms will also start in New Zealand and I encourage them.”

Last week, Australia’s Parliament passed a law intended to force digital groups to pay the country’s newspaper publishers in exchange for their news content.

These mastodons are accused of capturing a large part of advertising revenue and of using their content without financial compensation.

Facebook and Google have succeeded in watering down certain provisions of this law. Thus, agreements are more likely to be the result of negotiations than to be imposed by a regulatory authority.

The law was passed after a long standoff with tech giants, in which Facebook showed its power by blocking the publication of links to news articles and media pages nationwide for a few days.

Mr. Faafoi indicated that the regulations decided by the government will depend on the progress of discussions “between platforms and media companies”.

He pointed out that New Zealand media faces a severe financial crisis as the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of their work.

“The role of the media throughout the pandemic has been key to the success of the action in New Zealand,” he said.

“As Minister, I am committed to supporting the sector … and making the changes necessary to make it stronger and more sustainable in the future.”