The Australian government announced on Friday it would give three months to US tech giants Facebook Inc., and Alphabet’s Inc’s Google, to negotiate a fair pay to get news content, in a bid to support independent journalism worldwide.

“It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable media landscape,” the country’s Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg told reporters.

The move followed the release of a mandatory code of conduct, with Frydenberg adding that the two tech giants will be the first digital platforms targeted by the new legislation, and that more companies will follow.

The two companies strongly oppose to the idea, with Google stating that the draft code could impede the digital economy. In case they fail to agree on pricing, arbitrators will be appointed to make a binding decision, while in case they breach the code, they could face “substantial penalties” of up to 10% of the platform’s annual turnover or $7.2 million fine.

The draft code of conduct, which will be open to consultation until August 28, requires that the two companies negotiate the price of the content which appears in their news feeds and search results, and notify news companies of changes to algorithms.


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