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Penny Mordaunt will make tech giants pay for news if she wins race

Penny Mordaunt vows to make tech giants pay to use news and will stop them using their dominant positions at expense of small businesses if she wins Tory leadership race

A proposed law requiring tech giants such as Google and Facebook to pay for using news stories would be pushed forward by Penny Mordaunt if she became prime minister.

The trade minister said she would give legal powers to the Government’s recently established Digital Markets Unit to stop the large tech firms using their dominant positions at the expense of small businesses.

She also announced plans to create a ‘news bargaining code’ similar to a world-first law passed in Australia last year.

This encourages tech giants and news organisations to negotiate payment deals between themselves.

Penny Mordaunt will act to stop large tech firms using their dominant positions at the expense of small businesses

If negotiations fail, an independent arbitrator can set the price they pay domestic media, which is likely to benefit news media organisations. As part of her plans to keep pace with the fast-moving online world, Miss Mordaunt said she would create a single Digital Department that would bring together civil servants from across the Government working on issues such as online safety, cyber security and data privacy.

Writing in the City AM newspaper, she said: ‘As part of accelerating the delivery of digital competition legislation we will also create a news bargaining code, similar to the law that has been passed by the Australian government.

‘This will mean that major online platforms like Google and Facebook will be required to reach a deal with news publishers to compensate them for their content being freely distributed across those services. Should such agreements not be reached, they would be settled through independent arbitration.

Tech giants such as Google and Facebook would have to pay for using news stories if Penny Mordaunt becomes Prime Minister

‘This scheme is already providing real financial benefits to news companies in Australia, where this new source of revenue is helping them to take on and retain more journalists.’

Miss Mordaunt also expressed support for the Government’s Online Safety Bill, which will protect the public from illegal content on the web – but stressed that it was also important to have ‘due regard for freedom of speech’.

The Digital Markets Unit, set up within the Competition and Markets Authority, aims to address concerns that a small number of tech companies are dominating online advertising to the detriment of consumers and businesses.

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