The prompt for this post is the disagreement between FB & Google and Australian news publishers, but I have wanted to write about this topic for a while now. There are two things I want to look at. First, the proposed law itself. Second, the role of traditional news publishers in modern society.

The Mandatory Bargaining Code

Australia is proposing forced arbitration between media companies and digital platforms. What this law amounts to is a subsidy funded by big tech, as Benedict Evans explains, a subsidy whose purpose is to ensure journalism is properly funded, as per the Guardian. Proponents of this legislation make two arguments to defend it, both of which seem arbitrary rather than stemming from some logical framework:

The role of media

As mentioned earlier, proponents of the law assert that such regulation is necessary to ensure journalism is properly funded. But this begs a few questions: first, why is journalism that essential? What are the functions of journalism that are vital and therefore need to be funded? And why is there a need for funding — i.e. why can’t news publishers be profitable on their own?

I work at Monzo. Ex Google, P&G