Leading media and journalism organizations on Tuesday sent a joint letter to the White House calling on the Biden Administration to pass the bipartisan Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) (S. 673 and H.R. 1735). The JCPA would allow local news publishers to come together to collectively negotiate with Google and Facebook for fair compensation for use of their content, as small and local publishers currently do not have the ability to negotiate these deals on their own, as the dominant tech platforms capture the majority of U.S. digital ad revenue, leaving local publishers with little to reinvest in the production of high-quality journalism.
The organizations that signed on to the letter include the American Economic Liberties Project, Alliance for Audited Media, Authors Guild, California Black Media, Ethnic Media Services, Main Street Alliance, National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), News/Media Alliance, Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) and the Revolving Door Project.
The letter outlines the plight of local news, in which news publishers have been forced to play by Big Tech’s rules of the digital advertising playing field for years, resulting in the loss of more than a quarter of U.S. newspapers since 2005 and the spread of news deserts across the country. The groups in their letter underscore the importance of passing the JCPA as the best solution to ensuring news publishers are compensated fairly for use of their content by the dominant tech platforms. Attackers of the bill have claimed that it would create a link tax and break the Internet. However, similar legislation has been in place in Australia for nearly two years and no such thing has happened. Instead, news publishers in Australia are finally being sustained and hiring journalists again.
The Senate Judiciary Committee completed its bipartisan markup of the JCPA in September. The bill has broad support, not only in Congress where it has strong support in both the House and the Senate (on both sides of the aisle — including 79 total co-sponsors), but also from over 300 consumer interest groups, unions, conservatives, advocacy groups and third-party organizations that have shown support for the JCPA by sending letters of support to the bill sponsors. In addition, nearly 24,000 individuals have signed a Change.org petition for the bill and nearly 1,000 editorials in support of the JCPA have been published in newspapers in 48 states across the country. In a recent poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted by Schoen Cooperman Research for the News/Media Alliance, 70 percent of Americans said they support Congress passing the JCPA.
“While news publishers struggle to survive, Big Tech’s anticompetitive practices are actually being protected by current antitrust laws, to the extent that it is a stranglehold on local news outlets and other online businesses,” said Danielle Coffey, executive vice president and general counsel at the News/Media Alliance. “The time is now for Congress to pass the JCPA and for President Biden to sign the bill into law. We need local news publishers to ensure a strong and informed democracy, and right now they need a lifeline. The JCPA is that lifeline.”
The Alliance thanks the many co-sponsors of the bill for their leadership in pursuing this legislation and for their commitment to sustaining quality journalism.
View the joint letter here.
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