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PSS submits draft legislation challenging Google and Meta

Last week the Publisher Support Services (PSS), the media industry association, submitted proposed draft legislation to the Competition Commission in its challenge of Google and Meta (Facebook).
Source: © scyther5
Source: © scyther5 pexels

The challenge is to be compensated for their content used on these platforms and is appealing to all other news organisations in the country to join the campaign.

The submission of the proposed draft legislation follows the PSS’ presentation in February (2022) at an in-camera hearing of the Competition Commission’s market inquiry into online platforms operating in South Africa.

Protecting the local news industry

Says Hoosain Karjieker, CEO of Mail & Guardian Media and chairperson of the PSS: “Globally, platforms like Google and Meta have been using publishers’ content at no cost to grow their market dominance. The main objective of our challenge is to protect the future sustainability of the local news industry. The proposed draft legislation aims to ensure fair and equitable remuneration for South African news media businesses, large and small, for the use of their content.

“Although the initiative is led by the founder members of the PSS (Arena Holdings, Caxton, Independent Media, Mail & Guardian and Media24), I strongly appeal to other news organisations to join the campaign by making submissions to the Commission. Protecting journalism as a cornerstone of our democracy is a shared responsibility of the industry at large.”

Success in other parts of the world

Karjieker reiterated the success achieved by similar efforts in other parts of the world, most notably Australia and Europe, that forced these platforms to the negotiating table to have them agree on fair compensation to publishers for their content.

“The PSS is available to assist local news publishers and businesses in making their submissions or answering queries," says Karjieker.

Submissions can also be made directly to the Competition Commission at az.oc.mocpmoc@impio, marked for the attention of James Hodge, to reach the Commission by the end of May 2022.

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