Facebook has told the Federal Government it will return its site to normal and unblock Australian news organisations after Josh Frydenberg agreed to make changes to new laws targeting the platform.
The Treasurer today announced amendments to the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code, which he said would “provide further clarity to digital platforms and news media businesses about the way the Code is intended to operate” and “strengthen the framework for ensuring news media businesses are fairly remunerated”.
The changes included that a decision to designate a platform under the Code but take into account whether the tech company has made a significant contribution to Australian journalism through commercial agreements with news companies.
A digital platform will be notified of the Government’s intention to designate prior to any final decision and a final decision on whether or not to designate a digital platform would be made no sooner than one month from the date of notification.
Final offer arbitration will also be made a ” last resort where commercial deals cannot be reached by requiring mediation, in good faith, to occur prior to arbitration for no longer than two months”.
“Importantly, the amendments will strengthen the hand of regional and small publishers in obtaining appropriate remuneration for the use of their content by the digital platforms,” Mr Frydenberg said in a statement.
“The Explanatory Memorandum will confirm that the Code only applies to the extent a digital platform is making covered news content available through those services.”
“These amendments also add further impetus for parties to engage in commercial negotiations outside the Code – a central feature of the framework that the Government is putting in place to foster more sustainable public interest journalism in Australia.”
“The Government has been advised by Facebook that it intends to restore Australian news pages in the coming days.”