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What is the Polish media's appeal about regarding the copyright law? Comments by Roman Imielski and Andrzej Stankiewicz

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– We do not want alms from anyone. We want those who use our content to pay for it – said Andrzej Stankiewicz, deputy editor-in-chief of Onet.pl, in the program “Fakty po Faktach” on TVN24, when asked about the postulate of the Polish media regarding changes to the Copyright Act. – What is really at stake is the quality of democracy. Because without free, independent and strong media, which are becoming increasingly weaker due to the monopolistic practices of corporations such as Google, there is no advertising at all – added Roman Imielski, first deputy editor-in-chief of “Gazeta Wyborcza”.

“Politicians, do not kill Polish media” – this is the appeal of over 350 media from all over Poland. They are calling on the authorities to introduce amendments to the Copyright Act that will strengthen publishers in negotiations with the so-called Big Techs. The point is that platforms such as Google and Facebook regularly use media content and monetize it, but do not share the profits.

What amendments to the Copyright Act?

– If TVN, Onet or “Gazeta Wyborcza” obtains information that leads to the resignation of a minister or overturns the entire political system, influences the election result, then if they (readers – ed.) find out about it from Google or Facebook, then the journalists who often worked for months on such materials will not receive a penny. And a medium such as TVN, Onet or “Gazeta Wyborcza” will not earn on advertising – explained Andrzej Stankiewicz, deputy editor-in-chief of Onet.pl.

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He added that there are no strong media that look for news, watch politicians' hands, conduct journalistic investigations – months and expensive if they are not able to finance themselves. – We do not want alms from anyone. We want those who use our content to pay for it. Large platforms take for free what we create in months of sweat and toil, they earn huge money from advertising for distributing it to readers and do not want to share it – said Stankiewicz.

– There will be no journalism, because Google and Facebook do not run editorial offices. They do not create news, do not search for information, do not explain the world to you (readers – ed.). They only take from us, but do not want to pay for it at the same time. They do not spend any money in Poland, do not make investments, do not pay taxes – Stankiewicz emphasized.

Roman Imielski, first deputy editor-in-chief of “Gazeta Wyborcza”, added that the publishers were certain that after the change of government this situation would finally be regulated. – This is about the implementation of the EU directive, which PIS did not want to implement it because it was afraid of the American administration. Besides, the PiS government promised Donald Trump that it would not touch American technology companies and that there would be no negotiations on this matter – he added. – After the change of government, it turned out that our postulates were not taken into account either – admitted Imielski.

Who will verify fake news in the absence of independent media?

– What it really comes down to is the quality of democracy. Because without free, independent and strong media, which are becoming increasingly weaker due to the monopolistic efforts of corporations such as Google, there are no advertisements at all. This corporation has completely monopolized the market for programmed advertising on the Internet – said Roman Imielski.

In his opinion, without strong and independent media, the basis of which is independent financing, citizens' access to independent and quality-verified information will be greatly limited. – In the United States, over the last decade, among other things due to the position of technology corporations, the number of journalists has decreased from about 360 thousand to 106 thousand. That is, three times – explained the deputy editor-in-chief of “Gazeta Wyborcza”.

He added that without journalists there will also be no one to verify fake news. – They also earn money from distributing disinformation content – explained Imielski. – On the one hand, these companies announce that they are fighting disinformation, but research contradicts this. The presence of fake news is to the advantage of the platforms – he assessed.

– It turns out that fake news itself spreads six times faster than verified information. This means that when we journalists verify this false information, its reach is much weaker. In addition, millions of people read this fake news and displayed advertisements, which these corporations earned on – explained Imielski.

– If this inequality between the position of the media and the position of technology corporations continues, you will not have access to true information – said Imielski.

– Let me remind you that companies such as Google and Facebook earn several dozen billion dollars a year – noted the deputy head of “Gazeta Wyborcza”.



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