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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Media protest in Poland continues. “The news may soon be gone”

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Have you ever seen a Google or Meta journalist at a press conference asking questions, expecting various consequences? – Rafał Wojda asked his guests in “Wstajesz i wiesz” on TVN24. On Thursday morning, over 350 media from all over Poland appealed to the authorities to introduce amendments to the Copyright Act, which will strengthen publishers in negotiations on remuneration with so-called big techs.

At the end of last month, the Sejm rejected amendments proposed by publishers and journalists to amend the Copyright Act. The bill has now been forwarded to the Senate, which will consider the matter during its session on July 10. In connection with this, representatives of the Polish media have decided appeal to politicians to introduce the necessary regulations for the above-mentioned purposes.

– Have you ever seen a Google or Meta journalist at a press conference asking questions during the conference, taking into account various consequences, because questions asked by journalists are not always convenient for politicians? – asked the host Rafał Wojda in “Wstajesz i wiesz” on TVN24.

Paweł Nowacki, consultant of the Press Publishers Chamber, answered the question, emphasizing that the role of global platforms is only to share content. – We haven't seen, we don't see and we most likely won't see, because the whole thing we're talking about today is about the fact that the media, broadly understood portals, internet services, television, radio, play a different role, and the intermediaries in providing information play a different role. Google and Facebook are intermediaries, but not content creators.

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Maciej Kosowski, President of the Employers' Association of Digital Publishers, drew attention to the dominant role of global corporations which, despite providing content they do not incur any costs associated with their production.

– Big tech has been building its position and significance in the world of the Internet for years, which is today a key part of every economic activity, but also our personal one. To a large extent, based on content that is created in professional editorial offices, where the owner, publisher of the title must bear all the costs related to producing the content. However, we later find these materials in large technological, digital platforms, which have become gatekeepers, i.e. gates to the Internet – he explained

Read also: Why the Copyright Act being passed may mean the liquidation of many media

Huge profits for digital platforms

Paweł Nowacki from the Association of Digital Transformation Practitioners pointed out that most advertising money goes directly to entities such as Alphabet and Meta. He added that the aforementioned big techs earn the most without incurring the costs associated with content production.

– It is worth noting that these two entities, Alphabet, the owner of Google, and Meta, the owner of Facebook, among others, choose about 60, even 70 percent of advertising money in most markets.. By not incurring costs, they earn the most, and what's more, they don't want to share this money with publishers.

Nowacki stressed that Thursday's action “is primarily about putting pressure on politicians to allow negotiations on a potential salary to be completed.”

“This is our biggest disappointment”

Maciej Kosowski reminded that Poland is three years behind in implementing copyright regulationsAs he added, politicians did not use this time to take into account the experiences from other countries and refine the project.

– This law we are talking about was supposed to regulate this topic well, effectively and efficiently. We are three years behind schedule with the implementation date of the regulations. The previous team touched on the topic, but did not complete it for three years. We are the last country in Europe that has not implemented this directive into the national legal system – he said.

– We had great hopes that the current government, when introducing this act, would take into account the experience from other countries and would be a reliable partner for publishers in the process of establishing the principles of this act. This is our greatest disappointment that in all legislative process we were ignored, this dialogue was negligible and ultimately the solutions included in the act are ineffective. That is, they condemn us to potentially long disputes, negotiations, lawsuits to get what is legally ours – Kosowski noted.

Media in Poland at risk

During the conversation, Paweł Nowacki also stressed that without a quick change in regulations, many media in Poland may soon cease operations.

– If these potential negotiations with the giants last long, then many media outlets may go bankrupt in the meantime. In those countries where the governments are trying to regulate the quality outside the EU, for example in Canada Whether Australia Whether France in the EU, these works are completed faster. In France, the local antitrust office imposed a fine on Google in the amount of 250 million euros because these negotiations have not ended, i.e. the agreement has not been signed – he assessed.

– In reality, we are fighting for democracy, fighting fake news, so that society has access to verified information. Especially today, in the era of disinformation, hybrid warfare, in the difficult times that are still ahead of us. In a moment, this news may be gone – concluded Maciej Kosowski.

Main image source: TVN24

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