Advice to government on digital platforms and news publishers
The government recently (06 May 2022) published advice from Ofcom and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on how the financial relationships between the big digital platforms and news publishers could be made fairer.
Access to a range of views about news and current affairs is critical to the functioning of our democracy. In recent years people have increasingly turned to online sources for their news, either through social media, search engines or the apps provided by news providers such as newspapers.
This change has had a significant impact on the businesses of newspapers, which are increasingly reliant on the big tech firms. In July 2021 the government asked Ofcom and the CMA for our advice on how consumers and content providers, including newspapers, could benefit if the bargaining power of the biggest tech firms is properly managed.
New online services allow people to find and access a range of news and other content. As both a competition and content regulator with a specific interest in promoting media plurality, we want to make sure these services don’t disrupt or distort the availability of the content now available – or undermine investment in content production and journalism.
As noted in the Government’s recent broadcasting white paper, the way people use digital channels to get information is changing rapidly. New ways to connect, such as digital assistants and connected televisions, raise new concerns about access to public service media and pose new questions around how services compete with each other. Ofcom will be engaging in these issues going forwards.
Dame Melanie Dawes, Ofcom's Chief Executive recently said:
Having a wide range of news sources and opinions is the cornerstone of our democracy, values and society. Today marks an important step towards securing a fair outcome in the relationship between online platforms and news publishers.
The way people use digital channels to communicate and get information is changing rapidly. We’re taking a closer look at the potential benefits and threats to media plurality, and will be saying more on this later in the year.
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