Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, S 673, would end unfair free ride

Aug 1, 2022

The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected this summer to take up the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, S 673, which would give local newspapers and broadcasters a four-year safe haven from antitrust laws so they could jointly negotiate payments from social media platforms like Google and Facebook. The platforms are opposing the bill and calling it a “news link tax” that will inhibit access to information.

The National Newspaper Association supports JCPA, which is being championed in Congress by the News Media Alliance and the National Association of Broadcasters.

NNA Chair Brett Wesner, president of Wesner Publications, Cordell, Oklahoma, said platforms that use locally gathered news to build audiences are getting an unfair free ride.

“The public is easily confused about where its news comes from,” Wesner said. “The many online entities that curate news by gathering up information from local newspapers and broadcasters may look like journalists, but they are not. They are exploiting resources that need to be protected by local news organizations so we can pay reporters and editors. The large social media platforms are just the largest of these curators, but they are the largest beneficiaries of the advertising that they sell. No one is trying to break the internet, as some of the big guys claim. We want them to pay a fair price.

“JCPA opens the door to a more equitable information ecosystem. NNA has urged Congress to move on this legislation now.”

More information from NNA’s Congressional Action Team is available to members here