Malaysian media wants Google, Facebook to pay for news content

PETALING JAYA • Malaysian media organisations are standing together and have reached out to the Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC) to compel tech giants such as Google and Facebook to pay for their news content.

A letter was sent by the Malaysian Newspaper Publishers Association (MNPA) to MyCC on Tuesday in relation to the matter.

MNPA chairman Mustapha Kamil Mohd Janor said they were only asking for a fair share of the advertising revenue the tech giants had generated using content from media organisations in the country.

“For more than 15 years now, both Facebook and Google have been reusing our content that we have invested a lot of our resources to produce for their financial gains.

“We are only asking for a fair share of the advertising revenue that they generate via our content. This loss of potential revenue has resulted in us having to retrench staff, which has unfortunately affected the livelihood of many Malaysians.

“We hope the Malaysian government will come to the newspaper industry’s aid.

“This is the time we desperately need every ringgit to remain sustainable,” he said in a statement.

On April 21, Bloomberg reported that the Australian government, in the world’s first mandatory code of conduct, will force Google and Facebook to pay media companies in Australia for publishing their news.

The report said the move by the Australian government was to tackle the imbalance of power between tech giants and traditional media outlets.

Mr Mustapha, who is chief executive of The New Straits Times Press (Malaysia), said a mandatory code was being written by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to compel Google and Facebook to compensate news companies for using their content.

Star Group chief executive Andreas Vogiatzakis said in an era where intellectual property mattered the most, it was only fair that media sources were compensated accordingly and appropriately when the news and information generated by them were used for profit by third parties.

Mr Vogiatzakis said the initiative to compel the tech giants to compensate media outlets in Malaysia needed government intervention as well as proper legislation.

However, he noted that coming up with legislation for such matters would take time. “Ideally, there should be self-regulation in matters like this. In any case, the fact that this issue is now, finally, making its way to the spotlight to create awareness is good progress,” he said.

Mr Vogiatzakis said he believed that all parties involved need to understand one another’s point of view and respect the intellectual property rights of others for the initiative to fundamentally work. “If any party (is) enjoying the profits based on the work done by another, in any way or form, it is only appropriate that the revenue be shared.”

Mr Vogiatzakis also pointed out that the discussion to compel tech giants to pay for news content was not something new as it had been raised before by industry players.

“The move by the Australian government has become a catalyst by putting the spotlight back on the issue and accelerated its progress,” he said.

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