ASNE supports new bill allowing news outlets to negotiate with tech platforms
ASNE applauds Representative David Cicilline (D-R.I.) for introducing the "Journalism Competition and Preservation Act." We are proud to endorse this legislation that will allow news organizations to collectively and competitively negotiate with platforms to address the way news is ranked, presented and distributed. We support this bill because online platforms' current control over access to content by billions of users effectively forces news media to restrict – or at least modify – the way it presents that content.
“Readers are increasingly finding news online via platforms like Facebook, Google and others, which are not just social media platforms and search engines but aggregators who are in direct competition with our members,” said ASNE President Alfredo Carbajal, managing editor of Al Dia at The Dallas Morning News. “We are forced to make choices based on algorithms rather than our own editorial judgment, and we really have no say in that process. This bill will help level the playing field in the discussions with the large corporations who hold a disproportionate amount of power in the presentation of news and information to the public and accentuate the free flow of information to the citizenry.”
This bill will allow print or digital entitities that have dedicated professional editorial staff and make money via ads, subscriptions or sponsorships to join together with other news content creators to negotiate with online content distributors without violating antitrust law. News content creators can collectively withhold content from an online content distributor (identified as an online platform with at least 1 billion users) for a limited period, as long as certain conditions are met (primarily, negotiations over price may not occur).
ASNE members are asked to offer their own public support for this bill and, if they are comfortable, to contact their members of Congress asking those senators and representatives to sponsor or at least vote for this legislation. Rep. Cicilline has provided a Fact Sheet on the bill. You can also contact ASNE Legal Counsel Kevin M. Goldberg at 703-812-0462 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have an questions.