Thursday, September 03, 2020

Facebook and news: Blackmail of the decade?

Facebook vows to block news stories in Australia rather than pay for them
A new proposed law in Australia would require companies such as Facebook and Google to pay for news organisations' content.  Read the story HERE 
Read also: What happens FB follows through on its threat to remove news in Australia?

SHOULD WE PAY FOR NEWS? As a newsman, I say yes, of course, someone should pay for news. News bring in advertising revenues and therefore those who produce the news - journalists like me and the companies we work for - ought to be paid. It's only fair. BUT (and that's a big but) I don't think the people should be the ones who should pay for news. The people should get their news for free. Corporations that make money from the news and from content produced by newspapers, newsportals, and new organisations should pay for news.

I've been a journalist for over 30 years and I treat what I do as a service to the people. Through this blog of mine, for example, I've been sharing and sometimes breaking news for over a decade, f.o.c. It has been a conscious decision on my part from Day 1 (that would be sometime in May 2006) to not involve even Google ads. I'm  (also because I don't want those "Looking for Malay girls?" kind of advertisements to appear anywhere on this blog). Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that people like you get news that are factual, news brought to you without fear or favour.

Corporations like Facebook have thrived partly because of the news content that they get from us. They should pay for content created by newspapers, newsportals, and other media organisations that produce news. It's only fair to professionals like me. If they don't wish to pay for the news, stop taking the news content from those news organisations and pretend like you're doing us a favour. The likes of Facebook should produce their own news then. Become a news organisation themselves and compete with the rest of us for advertising money on equal footing. At the very least, we will thank them for creating jobs for the journalists. Too many of us have been laid off in these difficult times.



  1. Agreed Bro.

    After all, those who create news, books, music, films, videos, pictures, graphics, computer software, applications and so forth are entitled to fair compensation for their labour and talent but the so called "digital revolution" has seen the rise of pirates who find ways to effectively steal such content, software and applications.

    Back in the 1980s and 1990s it was mostly pirated software, VCDs and DVDs, and as the number of Internet users increased in the 2000s, we saw the rise of sites from which one could download pirated music, videos and software.

    There also were technology entrepreneurs who set up peer-to-peer file-sharing sites such as Napster which enabled the download of music for free in such a way they thought that they would not be legally liable, since they only provided the means to obtain such content without paying but did not host the content themselves.

    This led to an entitlement mentality amongst Internet users and a culture of finding ways to obtain such fruits of others' labour for free.

    Also, developers of such technical means to obtain such digital content without consent, whilst denying the owners and creators of such content their rightful due, as well as those tech-savvy enough to do so, took an arrogant attitude towards such rightful owners and creators, that they could do so because they had the savvy to do so and there was nothing that the owners or creators of such content could do to stop them, or so they thought.

    Many of the popular ICT media tended to take the side of these pirates or enablers of piracy, thus further encouraging this entitlement mentality amongst Internet users.

    When told that what they are doing denied musicians and other content creators their rightful due, they would counter that they are only "empowering the people against the giant music companies which were charging too much for most to pay for", and whilst there is some truth in this, however they conveniently forget that by doing so, they are denying the content creators their rightful due and honest livelihoods.

    When questioned, many of these ICT proponents argue that music and content creators should "adopt new business models to earn money from their content" such as "giving away their content for free and charging fans who attend their live performances".

    Well, as a part-time musician and music lover yourself, I'm pretty sure you know how impractical such suggestions are for most content creators, and this is why I despise the populist Internet entitlement culture.

    On a positive note though, sites such as Apple iTunes, You Tube and so forth have enabled content creators to monetise their content, either by charging for it or through earning a share of the advertising revenue but on the otherhand, there also has been an increase in the number of choice of ad blockers, since such ads can be annoying and get in the way of our reading, listening and viewing pleasure.

    Admittedly too, the standard price worldwide software companies such a Microsoft charge for their operating system and applications, makes it unaffordable for most users especially in developing countries, thus encouraging the use of pirated versions of such software in these countries.

    I avoid having to pay for my operating system and software, not by using pirated software but by using open source software such as Linux, most of which is willing made available by the creators to be legally downloaded and used free-of-charge.

  2. Not worth comment as you will never publish it. SHOK sendiri blog. BYE.freedom of speech konon.

  3. Anonymous5:42 pm


    Apa pasai u punya blog tak 'defen' your bossku anymore? Dedak sudah stop ka? Kesian!!