Digital media is expanding at a frantic pace and it has a major role in the inclusive digital growth of the nation, the top bureaucrat said.
Digital media has benefited our lives in several ways, Apurva Chandra said (File)
By India Today Web Desk: It is important that digital news platforms, which create original content, get a fair share of revenue from the big tech platforms which aggregate this content for the growth of the news industry, said Apurva Chandra, Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, at the inaugural session of the DNPA conclave.
“There have been issues regarding the financial health of not just the digital news industry but the parent print news industry as well post Covid,” he said, adding, “For the growth of the news industry, it is important that the digital news platforms of all these publishers, who are the creators of original content, get a fair share of revenues from the big tech platforms which act as aggregators of content created by others.”
Chandra’s message was read by the CEO of ABP network, Avinash Pandey, who said that it is clear that if the traditional news industry continues to be negatively impacted, the future of journalism will also be hit. “This is a question of journalism and credible content as well,” he stressed.
Chandra, in his message, further said that so much has happened in the last few years that it is not so easy to keep pace with the speed of changes taking place in the field of technology, Big Tech platforms and the larger eco-system. Questions have emerged along with it, he said.
“There are issues that impact the governance of a huge democracy, the changing dynamics of the news publishing industry, its businesses, and the social lives of citizens of the country and so on,” Chandra noted.
Digital media is expanding at a frantic pace and it has a major role in the inclusive digital growth of the nation, according to Chandra. “It has benefited our lives in so many ways, yet we all remain wary as well, at times, for various reasons.”
DNPA, which is the umbrella organization of India’s top 17 news publishers, has a history of service to the nation.
The organization has in place adequate systems of checks and balances to ensure that correct and factual news flows out and are good examples of our stated policy of self-regulation, Chandra said.
“Australia, Canada, France, the EU, and others have taken the initiative through their legislatures and strengthening of their competition commissions to ensure a fair split of revenue between the creators of news content and the aggregators,” he said, adding that the “deliberations in the conference will lead to meaningful suggestions in the Indian context”.
“The government will do what is in the best interest of all and act on the suggestions accordingly,” Chandra maintained.
Paul Fletcher, Australia’s Member of Parliament and a key person behind the legislation on reforms in revenue sharing between big platforms and news publishers, explained how his country dealt with resistance from Google and Facebook when the draft of the code was first shared with them.
“There was a bit of turbulence along the way. Google at one point threatened to withdraw Google Search services in Australia. In response to that, the PM and I met with the global experts of Microsoft who said they would be interested in expanding BING (Microsoft’s search engine) in Australia. We didn’t hear much more of the threat,” he quipped.
Facebook, in retaliation, also shut down pages of vital community services like Australian Police, ambulances and the Red Cross, a move that turned out to be a PR mistake for the tech company.
“In the face of that, we held firm and there was a strong political leadership from Josh Frydenberg (Former Treasurer of Australia) and the legislation passed parliament. I am pleased to say that both Google and Facebook have since negotiated commercial deals with news media businesses nearly 20 (times) from Google and 13 from Meta,” he stated.
Fletcher said that his India visit has two purposes – first, to share his experience in bringing the code to fruition and second, to learn more about the extraordinary successes of Indian tech companies like TCS, Infosys and Wipro. He also heaped praise on the country’s tech sector, calling it “world-leading”.