Tag Archives: Legislature

Friends No More: Facebook to lift Australian news ban | World | Instant News


Frydenberg described the agreed amendments as “clarification” of the government’s intent. He said his negotiations with Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg were “difficult”.

A European publisher lobby group that is among those working with Microsoft said the deal shows that such legislation is possible – and not just in Australia.

“Recent changes prove that regulation works,” said Angela Mills Wade, executive director of the European Publishers Council. “Regulators from all over the world will be assured that they can continue to draw inspiration from the Australian government’s determination to withstand the unacceptable threat of commercial gatekeeper power. “

Facebook said it would now negotiate a deal with an Australian publisher.

“We are satisfied that the Australian government has agreed to a number of changes and guarantees that address our major concerns about allowing commercial deals that recognize the value our platform provides publishers with the value we receive from them,” Facebook regional managing director William Easton said.

“As a result of this change, we can now work to continue our investment in public interest journalism and restore news on Facebook for Australians in the coming days,” Easton added.

Google, meanwhile, has listed Australia’s largest media company in content licensing deals through its News Showcase. The platform says it has handled more than 50 Australian titles and more than 500 publishers worldwide are using the model, which launched in October.

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Surprisingly, Facebook blocked news access in Australia | World | Instant News


The law mentioned in the notification has not yet been enforced.

“Facebook’s action is unnecessary, it is carried out with violence and will damage its reputation in Australia,” said Frydenberg.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison slammed his own Facebook page.

“Facebook’s actions not to befriend Australia today, cutting off important information services on health and emergency services, are as proud as they are disappointing,” Morrison wrote.

“These actions will only confirm concerns that more and more countries are expressing the behavior of BigTech companies thinking they are bigger than the government and that the rules shouldn’t apply to them. They may change the world, but that doesn’t mean they are running it, “he added. “We will not be intimidated by BigTech trying to pressure our Parliament.”

Facebook said the proposed Australian legislation “fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and the publishers using it”.

“This is an attack on a sovereign state,” Health Minister Greg Hunt told Parliament. “This is an attack on people’s freedom and, in particular, this is a total abuse of the major technology market forces and control over technology.”

The government argues that the proposed News Media Bargain Code will ensure media businesses will be paid fairly for journalism linked online. Both Google and Facebook have threatened to retaliate.

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Draghi Italia urged unity, courage before a vote of confidence | Instant News


Draghi vowed to lead an environmentally conscious, pro-European and digitally reformed government during a speech in the Senate marking the debut of his program. His cabinet is expected to win the obligatory vote of confidence in the Senate and Lower House after Draghi won broad support for the technical-political government that the Italian president asked to form as an emergency response to the COVID-19 crisis.

“Today, unity is not an option, it’s an obligation,” said Draghi to applause. “Obligation guided by what unites us all: Italian love.”

Draghi, the former head of the European Central Bank who is widely credited with saving the euro, pledged a similar all-out effort to get the country out of the pandemic. Since the virus first erupted in Italy last year, the country has reported more than 94,000 COVID-19-related deaths, more than any other European country except the UK.

He said his administration’s main goal is to confront the pandemic and save Italian lives “at all costs,” including strengthening the public health care system, bringing civilian protection and armed forces into the country’s vaccination campaign and ensuring that families can cope with the economic impact of the lockdown.

“The virus is the enemy of all of us,” said Draghi, 73, as he urged politicians to put their personal and political interests aside and take up the same spirit of sacrifice that their parents and grandparents did after World War II.

The prime minister said Italy had an opportunity not seen since then to rebuild the country from the ground up using more than 200 billion euros ($ 241.2 billion) in European Union recovery funds. Draghi said his government would be “convincingly” pro-EU and pro-US, and that he envisions strengthening bilateral relations with France and Germany in particular.

Draghi’s government was inaugurated at the weekend, wrapping up several extraordinary weeks that saw Giuseppe Conte, Italy’s popular prime minister since June 2018, resign after key allies withdrew support for Conte’s pandemic response. After attempts to form a third Conte government failed, President Sergio Mattarella asked Draghi to form a high-profile non-political government.

Draghi’s 23-member cabinet includes politicians in most ministries but puts technical experts in a key role, particularly those responsible for ensuring that the funds Italy expects to receive are used according to EU criteria. About 37% of the allocated recovery funds should be used for environmental purposes, while 20% should be allocated for digital transformation.

Italy has one of the EU’s worst records in the use of designated EU funds, a trend Draghi seems to want to stop.

“Everything that is wasted is a crime we commit against future generations,” he said.

Draghi explained that Italians who have lost their livelihoods due to virus-related closures will be a top priority, citing women, young people and other casual workers who have borne the brunt of the lockdown measures. But he said some activities would be more protected than others, a sign that the government would prioritize industry and jobs according to a focus driven by the environment and technology.

He said a focus on training workers for sustainable high-tech jobs, especially in the backward south of Italy, would combat the dual problem of unemployment and the need to transform Italy’s economy, which contracted 8.8% last year.

Draghi quoted Pope Francis calling for a new approach to preserving the environment and Italy’s cultural and natural wealth. He said Italy’s tourism sector, which accounts for around 13% of GDP, should be helped to recover, but in a sustainable manner.

He’s drafted a number of planned reforms, including a major overhaul of the income tax system, greater investment in education and research, and making public administration more digital-friendly for ordinary citizens.

His speech to senators won praise from both left and right politicians. Democratic leader Nicola Zingaretti assured Italians that their country was “in good hands”. Right-wing League leader Matteo Salvini pledged his support, lauding Draghi’s calls for greater health care spending, tax cuts and public works projects.

“Great starting point,” Salvini tweeted. The league is on the board.

However, one of Salvini’s right-wing allies doubled down on his opposition. Georgia Melloni, leader of the Brothers of Italy party, said her lawmakers would vote “no” in a vote of confidence, citing Draghi’s stern comments in particular about giving up national sovereignty for European cohesion.

“We will evaluate individual measures that generate votes, without giving up sovereignty, which we don’t recognize,” said Melloni.

Draghi’s government also has the backing of most of the anti-establishment 5 Star Movement, the largest party in the Italian Parliament. The vote of confidence drama is expected to focus on how many 5-star lawmakers abstained or voted against Draghi, given his appointment as prime minister split the movement.

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Follow all AP pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.

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Australian news media ‘big and small’ discuss Google deal | World | Instant News


“All I hear from parties, both in the news media business and in terms of digital platforms, is that this is a generous deal,” said Frydenberg.

“This is a fair deal. This is a great deal. This is a great deal for the Australian media business, “he added.

Google and Facebook, which combine 81% of online advertising in Australia, have condemned the code as unworkable.

Google said it might make the search engine unavailable in Australia if the code was introduced. Facebook said it might block Australians from sharing news if the platform had to pay for news.

Frydenberg said after weekend talks with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Alphabet Inc. and its subsidiary Google, that he believes the platform “really wants to enter into this commercial arrangement.”

Frydenberg denied giving Zuckerberg and Pichai an excuse by agreeing to change the law.

“We have held the line and held it firmly,” said Frydenberg. “And the digital giants have no doubts about that. . . government determination. “

Google confirmed that it was “in discussions with publishers large and small.” Facebook was also looking for news offers, but said it had “nothing to confirm at this time.”

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Australia to change laws for Google and Facebook to pay | World | Instant News


“Nominally, the amendments keep the integrity of the media code intact,” center director Peter Lewis said in a statement.

A Senate committee examining the bill after it was introduced to Parliament on December 9 recommended last week that the code become law without changes.

Google and Facebook, which take a combined 81% of online advertising in Australia, have condemned the bill as unworkable.

Google threatened to make the search engine unavailable in Australia if the code was introduced. Facebook said it might block Australians from sharing news if the platform was forced to pay for news.

The code aims to eliminate the digital giants’ dominant bargaining position but creates arbitration panels with the power to make legally binding decisions about prices. Panels will usually receive the best deals from platforms or publishers, and rarely set prices in between.

That should prevent media platforms and businesses from making unrealistic demands.

Apart from stating that the arbitration payment to the publisher must be made at once, the new amendment also makes it clear that the panel must consider the costs incurred by the platform and by the news business.

Seven West Media on Monday became Australia’s largest news media business to strike a deal with Google to pay for journalism. Kerry Stokes, chairman of Seven West Media, which has 21 publications, said the proposed coded threats had made a deal possible.

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