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.


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