Government Agrees To Last Minute Media Bargaining Code Changes As Facebook Commits To Restoring News Pages

Krasnoyarsk, Russia - June 13, 2011: Facebook main webpage on Google Chrome browser on LCD screen
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The media bargaining code will be amended as facebook agreed to restore news content to its platform after removing it last week.

A statement from Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s office said the amendments would “provide further clarity to digital platforms and news media businesses about the way the Code is intended to operate.”

After removing news content from the platform, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that Facebook was “back at the table” again.

While it was reported that Facebook was pursuing talks with Nine and News Corp, the deals were rejected.

Google has signed deals with both Nine and News Corp, as well as with Seven, the ABC, and the Guardian.

The new amendments were signed off on Tuesday.

They include measures like a two-month mediation period, allowing parties more time to consolidate agreements before they are forced into entering the binding final arbitration process.

Platforms will also be notified a month before any final decisions are made by the Government on whether to designate them under the Code. The decision to designate a platform must account for whether it has “made a significant contribution to the sustainability of the Australian news industry through reaching commercial agreements with news media businesses.”

Frydenberg’s statement says that the amendments will, “strengthen the hand of regional and small publishers in obtaining appropriate remuneration.”

Facebook said in a statement that they were “pleased that we’ve been able to reach an agreement with the Australian government and appreciate the constructive discussions we’ve had with Treasurer Frydenberg and Minister Fletcher over the past week.”

“We are satisfied that the Australian government has agreed to a number of changes and guarantees that address our core concerns about allowing commercial deals that recognise the value our platform provides to publishers relative to the value we recieve from them.”

The legislation will move through Parliament as early as Wednesday.

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