Google: ‘We need to support journalism without breaking search’

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 7 January 2021
Mel Silva

Global digital platform Google is happy to pay for journalism but says Australia’s plans will break its popular search function. 

In its latest tilt at Australia’s draft media bargaining code, which will govern how platforms will pay for news, Google says the proposed rules would dismantle a free and open search and replace it with one where links come at a price. 

Mel Silva, managing director, Google Australia, says the federal government would give a handful of news businesses an advantage over everybody else. 

“That puts Google’s business in Australia — and the services we provide more than 20 million Australians — at enormous risk,” she says.

“Our objections aren’t about complying with a code or the principle of paying to support journalists -- but how we do that matters.

“We need to find a way of supporting journalism without breaking Google Search.” 

She is urging Australian to make a submission about the code by January 18 to a Senate Committee.  

The draft code, created by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), aims to address the bargaining power imbalance between news businesses and Google and Facebook, including through a binding “final offer” arbitration process.

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