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23 February 2021

NMA: Facebook News Ban Shows Why Robust Regulation Urgently Needed

The UK news media industry has applauded the Australian authorities for standing up for the public and trusted journalism after Facebook announced it would reverse its widely criticised ban on news.  

News Media Association chairman Henry Faure Walker said this morning that the "whole sorry episode" demonstrates why robust regulation is "urgently needed" to level the playing field between news publishers and the tech giants, and called on the UK Government to act quickly.  

Australian Government Treasurer Josh Frydenberg MP said in a statement this morning that Facebook had agreed to restore news to its platform after amendments to "provide further clarity to digital platforms and news media businesses about the way the Code is intended to operate" were introduced to its news bargaining code. 

Responding to news that Facebook has ended its ban on news in Australia, Mr Faure Walker said: “This whole sorry episode demonstrates precisely why robust regulation is urgently needed to level the playing field between news publishers and the tech giants.  

“Public access to trusted news and information is of critical importance, yet on a whim, Facebook saw fit to deny millions of users in Australia access to trusted journalism – in the midst of a pandemic -  simply because they don’t like the incoming regulatory regime. We applaud the Australian authorities for standing up to the Facebook threats, the actions of a school yard bully.

“Importantly, the latest amendments to the Australian legislation should make it easier for regional and smaller publishers to obtain fair remuneration for use of their content by the tech platforms. We urge the UK Government to follow their lead as quickly as possible in order to help build a sustainable future for quality journalism in the UK.”