WASHINGTON—NetChoice maintains opposition to S. 673, the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, after lawmakers released an updated version of the bill that would give government handouts and monopoly power to a legacy industry by watering down antitrust laws to protect a powerful few.
Today, we are more connected than ever. It is clear the internet has dramatically increased global competition in the journalism industry by allowing anyone with a computer to obtain news from any digital publication anywhere in the world.
People can also access information about their local problems instantaneously because of and with technology, be it construction on their commute to work, a delay with commuter trains, or a fire in a nearby building. The idea that this industry needs to be protected by government intervention is false.
The revised Journalism Competition and Preservation Act—which should really be dubbed Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s Pro-Collusion Bill—hands power to entrenched incumbents in the journalism industry that would undermine future competition in a diverse and competitive landscape.
“The latest changes to the Journalism and Competition Preservation Act have not addressed the bill’s underlying issues. By shielding U.S. newspapers from antitrust laws and incentivizing them to collude, the bill still gives government power to dictate what is and is not legitimate news and diminishes the competitive media landscape,” said Jennifer Huddleston, Policy Counsel for NetChoice. “The bill ignores the fact that Americans have more information about local issues, and frankly national and global issues, than ever before and more choices about where to obtain that information because of the internet.”
“Laws making newspapers dependent on the good will of the government further undermines the independence, integrity and public trust of journalists,” continued Huddleston. “Like many areas of American media, journalists are facing more political pressure than ever to conform to the preferences of politicians. Instead of protecting independent journalists, this bill could increase the amount of government pressure America’s journalists face.”
Notable updates about the new version of the bill:
- Incentivizes platforms to stifle their own growth because the only platforms covered by the law would be those with at least 50 million U.S.-based users or subscribers, along with either a market capitalization of $550 billion or at least 1 billion worldwide monthly active users.
- Would decrease the amount of free news available online by effectively forcing technology platforms to pay news publishers to link to their articles by compliance requirements.
- Creates an 8-year temporary safe harbor from antitrust laws. This time period has been extended, entrenching the cronyism in this bill for almost a decade.