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Ministry of Digital Affairs : Dialogue between the Journalism Industry and Large Digital Platforms for Co-prosperity Mechanism to Promote Consensus

According to the Ministry of Digital Affairs (moda), what the United Daily News reported on August 24 that "There is no progress on the Media Bargaining Law," quoting unnamed industry sources as saying that "Google and Meta have clearly expressed that they will follow the law, but the point is the lack of relevant laws in Taiwan, and the moda has yet to activate it," and the related content, is obviously misunderstood.

The moda elaborated on the progress of large cross-border digital platforms and journalism co-prosperity mechanism that the community is concerned about. With the effort of the inter-ministerial group led by the Executive Yuan, the dialogue platform led by the moda has held two rounds of a total of six dialogues. During this time, Google has provided a co-prosperity fund of NT $ 300 million for three year. The application method has also been informed to the journalism industry. The moda, the Ministry of Culture, and the National Communication Commission are expected to initiate the third round of dialogue at the end of this month to seek more consensus among all parties, hoping that the co-prosperity mechanism can continue to move forward.

The moda pointed out that the advancement of legislation requires the submission of a draft, which involves the legislative route and mechanism, and is in urgent need of social consensus. People seriously concerned about this issue would notice that there are divergent views yet to be aligned. The views are expressed by the press through editorials and public associations, or by relevant academics in press conferences, as well as questions raised by legislators concerned with this issue on whether we should adopt the Australian model of bargaining, the fund model (including whether or not to levy a digital tax, etc.), or the EU model of neighboring copyrights. 

As for "large digital platforms are willing to comply with the law," mentioned by the report, the moda said that it is worthwhile for the community to consider and discuss whether the so-called compliance with the law can actually bring more resources to the news media. Take the Czech Republic, an EU country, as an example, which encountered challenges after amending the Copyright Act earlier this year. Google believed that the amendment would lead to legal risks for its services in the Czech Republic, and therefore temporarily suspended Google News-related services, including Editor's Pick and Showcase, under the premise of complying with the Czech law.

Another example is the Online News Act, Canada's new legislation. As it came into effect on August 1, Google and Meta announced that they would suspend Canadian users from accessing news content through their services "due to compliance with the law." Google removed links to Canadian news, with Meta following suit on the same day. Therefore, it is important to build social consensus through several rounds of dialogues, and to find a mechanism and direction that is suitable for the co-prosperity of Taiwan's journalism industry and large-scale digital platforms, which involves the process of whether and how to legislate.

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