Australia will force American tech giants Facebook Inc and Google to pay Australian media outlets for news content in a move that sets a historical precedent in protecting independent journalism. Australia will become the first country to require Facebook and Google (a subsidiary of listed group Alphabet Inc) to pay for the content of news provided by media companies under a rights system that will become law this year, said Australian Finance Minister Josh Frydenberg. “This is a fair bet for Australian media companies. It is about ensuring that we have better competition, better consumer protection and a sustainable media landscape,” said Frydenberg. to journalists in Melbourne. “Nothing less than the future of the Australian media landscape is at stake.” The move comes at a time when tech giants face calls around the world for more regulation, and a day after Google and Facebook received angry criticism for alleged abuse of market power in a commission of the United States Congress. Following an investigation into the state of the media market and the power of American platforms, late last year the Australian government told Facebook and Google to negotiate a voluntary agreement with media companies to use their content. . Those talks went nowhere and Canberra now says that if an agreement cannot be reached through arbitration within 45 days, the Australian Communications and Media Authority would set legally binding terms on behalf of the Government. Google said the regulation ignores the “billions of clicks” it sends to Australian news publishers every year. “It sends a worrying message to companies and investors that the Australian government will intervene rather than let the market work,” Mel Silva, CEO of Google Australia and New Zealand, said in a statement. Australia arranged for both Facebook and Google to pay for media news due to copyright. Photo: Reuters “It does nothing to solve the fundamental challenges of creating a business model suitable for the digital age.” Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment. ‘Unfair and damaging’ Media companies, including News Corp Australia, a subsidiary of News Corp, Rupert Murdoch’s group, strongly pressured the government to bring US companies to the negotiating table in the face of the prolonged fall in advertising revenue. “While other countries talk about the unfair and damaging behavior of technology giants, the Australian government … (is) taking unprecedented action around the world,” News Corp Australia Chief Executive Michael Miller said in a statement. A study carried out in 2019 estimated that in Australia some 3,000 jobs in the field of journalism have been lost in the last 10 years, while traditional media companies lose advertising revenue to the benefit of Google and Facebook, who pay nothing for news content. For every Australian $ 100 (one US dollar is priced at US $ 1,387) spent on online advertising in Australia, excluding word ads, almost a third goes to Google and Facebook, according to Frydenberg. Other countries have tried unsuccessfully to force digital giants to give their arm to twist. Large publishing groups in Germany, France and Spain have lobbied for national copyright laws to be passed that force Google to pay when it publishes snippets of its news. In 2019, Google stopped showing snippets of European media news in the search results of its French users, while Germany’s largest news publisher Axel Springer allowed the search engine to post snippets of its articles after that user traffic on your website plummeted.