‘Will address the imbalance in digital news monetisation’: Union Minister Rajeev Chandrashekhar

Union Minister of state for electronics and information technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Friday stressed that the disbalance between the small creators and Big Tech news aggregators has affected both the digital news industry and parent print media organizations. To address this “disproportionate imbalance”, the minister called upon the Big Tech aggregators to provide the original news creators with their fair share of the acquired revenue.

“It is clear that if the traditional news industry continues to be negatively impacted, the future of journalism, our fourth pillar, is also hit. Thus, this is a question of journalism and credible content as well. It leaves the small guy at a disadvantage which is not the right thing for a country like India where we potentially have hundreds and thousands of content creators,” the minister said while speaking at the Digital News Publishers Association’s (DNPA) ‘Future of Digital Media Conference 2023’ in New Delhi.

The minister accepted that with the expansion of technology, at some inflection point, the consumption of content in general and news, in particular, will largely be done on the internet.

As India embarked on the journey of digitization, the systems lacked adequate methods of checks and balances to ensure factual and quality flow of news content, the minister said. He acknowledged that the changing dynamics in the news industry raised the issues of governance in big democracies like India and also affected the social life and businesses of its citizens.

“As millions of consumers use the internet and consumer products and services, time accountability to the consumer is also something that needs to be built and legislated. For many decades, regulation and law-making or government and societal scrutiny and oversight about digital platforms lagged innovation because it was seen that these were all innovation platforms and they did not represent any threat or criminality. With digital media and digital brands proliferating, we have seen that those old values of media have been challenged or put to test,” the minister added.

Chandrasekhar affirmed that the country is addressing the issue like other countries and the upcoming Digital India Act will look at balancing the “disproportionate control” Big Tech aggregators currently have.


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