Secure Indian interests: Ensure fair play in media

Source: The post is based on an article “Secure Indian Interests: Ensure fair play in media” published in the Live Mint on 18th July 2022.

Syllabus: GS2 Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.

Relevance: Digital media

News: Recently, the union minister of state for Information Technology indicated to enact a legislation which would make it mandatory for the Big Tech like Google, Meta, Microsoft, Apple, Twitter and Amazon to pay a slice of revenue to Indian news- papers and websites, for using their original content.

What are the reasons which have compelled the government to move towards this direction?

In Europe, the EU’s copyright rules 2019 mandates Big Tech like Google News to share part of their revenues with the publishers. This has pushed Germany, Spain, and France to institutes legal regime to make it mandatory for the platform to share revenue with the news publishers.

In addition, to the European Countries, Australia had also passed a law to assure its local media a fairer share.

Other reasons

In the information age, the valuable resources are required to create Intellectual properties and such a creation should entail fair rewards.

The market has been distorted due to power asymmetry. Indian news publishers work is routinely used by Big Tech firms for their own business ends and it involves unfair split-up of returns.

There is global demand for efforts in order to restrain the clout of outsized online news dispensers.

The Big Tech majors exercise their market power on digital advertising. This places Indian media companies at a position of disadvantage. Therefore, there is a demand for digital governance as well as a framework which can help Indian news generators to undo such a distortion.

The media constitutes an important institution that upholds core Indian values and supports national sovereignty.

Way Forward

Last year, the Indian Newspaper Society (INS) and the Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) took Google to regulators on allegation that it has been abusing its dominant position in laying out terms for news aggregation.

The regulator is already doing a probe in this case. The findings of the case could help in building a robust legal framework.

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