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DAP leader: Consider forcing Google and FB to pay media outlets

KUALA LUMPUR (April 22): Liew Chin Tong has called on the government to consider emulating Australia to compel Google and Facebook to pay media outlets for news content, Malaysiakini reported today.

“We should make Google and Facebook pay so that independent media outlets (not paid for by the public purse or big commercial interests) can produce great content for the society with sustained sources of income.

“This will open up a whole new front where public debates and discourses can flourish further. As we encourage a broader space for the contestations of ideas, hopefully we will empower more Malaysians to play a larger role in our democratic process,” the Johor DAP chief added.

According to Malaysiakini, Liew, who was also the former deputy defence minister, made the suggestion in a Facebook post today after learning that the Edge Financial Daily had ended its run after 13 years.

“I used to read The Edge Financial Daily at the office and after the Sheraton coup, I subscribed to the e-paper version.

“It so happened that I went to the newsstand and bought a copy this morning without knowing that it was the historic final print run.

“As we consume more news online, daily papers are increasingly harder to sustain: they are not as quick and as instant as online news, yet not easy to pack them with deep analysis,” he added.

In a note to readers announcing the last issue yesterday, The Edge publisher and chief executive officer Ho Kay Tat and editor-in-chief Azam Aris said Financial Daily was unable to cope with both its shift to digital operations and the movement control order (MCO) due to Covid-19.

Financial Daily's sister publication, The Edge Weekly, remains in operations.

A day earlier, Reuters reported that Australia would pass a legislation within months obliging Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google to share advertising revenue with local media firms.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in a statement the move comes after talks with Facebook and Alphabet failed to yield a voluntary code to address complaints by domestic media players that the tech giants have too tight a grip on advertising, their main source of income.

"On the fundamental issue of payment for content, which the code was seeking to resolve, there was no meaningful progress," the treasurer said in a separate opinion piece in The Australian newspaper.

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