Late last year, media industry association Publisher Support Services (PSS) announced that it would be challenging Google and Meta over compensation for having locally created content on its platforms.
While the issue is yet to reach a resolution, a crucial next step in the process has been made, with the PSS submitting draft legislation to the Competition Commission last week Friday, 29th April.
Now the association is calling on other South African publishers and media houses to join the effort in challenging the dominance of Google and Meta when it comes to the percentage it takes in terms of content being shared on their platforms.
“Globally, platforms like Google and Meta have been using publishers’ content at no cost to grow their market dominance. The main objective of our challenge is to protect the future sustainability of the local news industry. The proposed draft legislation aims to ensure fair and equitable remuneration for South African news media businesses, large and small, for the use of their content,” explains Hoosain Karjieker, CEO of Mail & Guardian Media and chairperson of the PSS.
“Although the initiative is led by the founder members of the PSS (Arena Holdings, Caxton, Independent Media, Mail & Guardian and Media24), I strongly appeal to other news organisations to join the campaign by making submissions to the Commission. Protecting journalism as a cornerstone of our democracy is a shared responsibility of the industry at large,” he added.
While South Africa is not the first country to challenge Google and Meta over the issue of publisher compensation, Karjieker believes the success achieved by similar efforts in Australia and Europe can serve as hope for fair compensation to publishers and their content locally.
Local publishers and media houses that wish to join this effort have until the end of May to do so.
They are advised to contact the PSS for assistance at administrator[at]pdmedia[dot]org[ot]za. Alternatively, they can make submissions directly to the Competition Commission at oipmi[at]compcom[dot]co[dot]za, marked for the attention of James Hodge.
Whether we will a similar outcome as Australia remains to be seen, but there is clearly a disparity when it comes to compensation on both Google and Meta in the eyes of publishers across the globe.