Pay for news: Australia tells Google, Facebook
PIC: PIXABAY

The Australian government said on Friday it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with Australian media businesses fair pay for news content.

In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, the government aims to succeed where other countries have failed in making the global digital giants pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies.

Google said Australia's draft code was a heavy-handed step that could impede the digital economy.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Google and Facebook would be the first digital platforms targeted by the proposed legislation but others could follow.

"It's about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it's about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable media landscape," Frydenberg said.

"Nothing less than the future of the Australian media landscape is at stake with these changes," he added.

If the US-based platforms could not agree with the Australian media businesses on pricing after three months, arbitrators would be appointed to make a binding decision, the draft said.

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