Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the Junior IT minister, has asked tech companies to give some of their profits to the online versions of print news publishers.
The minister of state for electronics and information technology stated at the beginning of the Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) meeting that the government is aiming to rectify the imbalance in the production and monetization of content by news organizations and advertising technology firms.
The Junior IT minister said while discussing the Digital India Act that “aggregators should give a ‘fair share of revenues’ to digital platforms of print news publishers,” He also added that they hope to address the issue of disproportionate control and imbalance of dynamics between content creation and its monetization and the power that ad-tech companies and platforms have today.
Rajeev Chandrasekhar said, “It is not appropriate for a country like ours where we have potentially hundreds of thousands of small content creators and many values, truth-driven news organizations.”
He highlighted that the financial situation of not only the digital but also the print news industry has been affected by the Covid pandemic. “For the growth of the news industry, it is vital that digital news platforms of all publishers, who are the creators of original content, receive a fair share of revenues from the Big Tech platforms which act as aggregators of content created by others,” he said.
The minister suggested that the government could adopt a similar approach as Australia’s, where in 2019 the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission submitted a report to the government examining the effects of digital platforms on the availability and quality of news and journalism.
The report raises concerns about the imbalance in the regulation of content delivered through traditional broadcasting channels compared to digital platforms like Meta Inc (formerly Facebook) and Google, which is deemed “distortionary.”
The government aims to make India a producer of technology and not just a provider of talent. According to Chandrasekhar, the prime minister has a clear vision for the digital economy, which is to transform lives through a digital ecosystem and not just create opportunities. He wants India to be a leader in technology production, devices, and products, rather than just supplying talent.