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The ACCC’s digital platforms inquiry and what it means for media diversity in Australia

Competition
Woman using laptop to browse newspaper
Competition Partner Matthew Lees has been featured in the Competition Policy International (CPI)’s latest column following the final report published by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in its inquiry into digital platforms.

In the article, Matthew provides an overview of the important issues relating to digital platforms and reveals what it tells us about the relationship between competition policy and another industry – news media and journalism. He comments on the role of news media and journalism: “They play an essential role in a democracy like Australia by keeping citizens informed of public affairs, holding those in power to account and facilitating healthy public debate.”

During its inquiry, the ACCC endorsed the idea of developing platform-specific codes of conduct to address the inequality of bargaining power between Google or Facebook and media businesses. It also proposed introducing government grants for journalism in the public interest – in particular, local and regional journalism relating to local government and local courts. These measures are designed to directly assist media businesses.

“[News media and journalists] play an essential role in a democracy like Australia by keeping citizens informed of public affairs, holding those in power to account and facilitating healthy public debate.”

Matthew Lees
“While the final report [delivered by the ACCC] recommends some measures of benefit to media businesses and local journalism, it is certainly not a radical response to the significant challenges raised by digital platforms,” says Matthew.

Competition Policy International (CPI) is an independent knowledge-sharing organisation focused on the diffusion of the most relevant antitrust information and content worldwide. CPI releases daily, weekly and monthly antitrust focused publications to readers including enforcers, judges, lawyers, economists and academics in over 150 countries.

 

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