E Tū Urges Government To Support NZ Media By Passing Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill

Published: Tue 5 Mar 2024 04:48 PM
E tū, the union for journalists and media workers, is urging the Government to pass the Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill as an important part of the solution to the problems facing the media in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Last week, it was announced that Newshub and Three will close in June. Recent redundancies affecting Stuff’s sports reporters, and uncertainty about job security across the wider media landscape, demonstrate the revenue constraints that will continue to harm the industry.
E tū senior delegate at Stuff, Tom Hunt, says the Government passing the Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill would be a good balance of supporting the industry while maintaining media independence.
“Government help for the media can and has been appreciated, but it can also be a poisoned chalice. It has given people a weapon to attack us with, and that is understandable, even if the so-called media bias is a fiction,” Tom says.
“But the Government helping to create a level playing field against billionaire-owned tech giants is not a bailout. It is rational, and I can see no reason to stop it unless the Government is afraid of scrutiny.”
E tū National Secretary, Rachel Mackintosh, says the matter is urgent.
“Things will just keep getting worse if we don’t find sustainable approaches to the way the digital age has completely changed how people publish and access news,” Rachel says.
“The Government has one simple action it can immediately take to improve confidence in the news industry in the short term and significantly improve its financial viability in the medium term. That is, it must listen to the calls of basically everyone in the industry and support the Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill.
“This is even more important now, given the way the tech giants have responded to similar moves overseas. They cannot be allowed to bully governments into getting their way – we must stand up for fairness as an international community.”
Rachel is concerned the Government doesn’t appear to understand the importance of a well-functioning media landscape.
“The Government can’t just sit on their hands and allow the Fourth Estate to crumble on their watch, they need to step up now.
“Broadcasting Minister Melissa Lee should be a champion of new ways of raising revenue for the industry, but instead she has been slowing the progress of this bill, now using the development of AI as an excuse for inaction.
“Our country deserves much more serious leadership on this matter.”

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