News businesses can now apply to join Australia’s recently passed news media bargaining code – opening the door to payments from Facebook and Google

  • The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has opened submissions for the News Media Bargaining Code to Australian news businesses.
  • Australia’s major media players have already inked deals with Facebook and Google, with the announcement opening the door for smaller news businesses and startups.
  • Eligible corporations that operate news businesses can now apply via the ACMA website.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

Any Australian news business not already covered by the newly passed News Media Bargaining Code can now register with the The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), with submissions open via the ACMA website.

The Treasury Laws Amendment (News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code) Bill 2021 – the direct result of the federal push to force the tech giants to pay for news – was passed by the Senate with a raft of amendments, and then passed by parliament last week on February 25.

To apply, news companies need to meet the eligibility requirements set out in the code, including demonstrating professional standards, editorial independence, and that the primary purpose of their news source is to create core news content. There is also a revenue requirement.

The ACMA has published the eligibility guidelines on its website to help potential applicants decide if they are eligible.

Corporations that operate news businesses can now apply via the ACMA website, ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said in a statement.

“I encourage any news businesses interested in being registered under the code to carefully read through the eligibility guidelines on our website and, if eligible, to apply through our online portal,” she said.

The ACMA is empowered to assess the eligibility of news businesses who want to participate in the code, appoint mediators to assist bargaining parties, and finally, to register and appoint arbitrators if bargaining parties cannot agree on the make-up of an arbitration panel.

It said it plans to publish details about registered news businesses on its website.

Once companies successfully sign up, the ACMA will also publish a list of registered corporations and their news sources on its website.

Australia’s media giants, and many of its independent publishers, have already announced their participation in the code, with the door now open for smaller publishers and news startups.

Facebook said it signed letters of intent with Private Media, the publisher of Crikey and SmartCompany; Schwartz Media, publishers of The Monthly and The Saturday Paper; and Solstice Media, the Adelaide firm behind InDaily, on February 26, clinching these publishers into the code.

And Seven West Media, which operates the Seven Network and newspaper The West Australian, as well as Nine and Newscorp signed deals with Facebook that same week.

Google said it has over 70 local publications registered for its News Showcase platform, which is based on commercial deals inked separately to the code – though no doubt influenced by its negotiation.

The ACMA said it will release more information about mediators and arbitrators in the coming weeks.