Kennedy, Klobuchar introduce bill protecting newspapers from Big Tech

Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) today introduced the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act to allow news publishers, including the struggling newspaper industry, to collectively negotiate with digital platforms such as Google and Facebook.

“Newspapers are locked in a life-or-death struggle with tech giants like Google and Facebook, and it’s not a fair fight. Local papers have continued to deliver news despite declines in circulation, but readers are losing out at as their options for news coverage evaporate. This bill will support the independence of local papers by giving news publishers the power to collectively negotiate with digital platforms like Google and Facebook. Google and Facebook aren’t just companies—they’re countries, and we can’t tolerate tech giants’ strangling their print news competitors,” said Kennedy.

“We must enable news organizations to negotiate on a level playing field with the big tech companies if we want to preserve a strong and independent press. This bipartisan legislation will improve the quality of reporting and ensure that journalists are able to continue their critical work. Our media outlets need a fighting chance when negotiating for fair treatment by the digital platforms where so many Americans consume their news,” said Klobuchar.

At issue is whether the playing field for delivering news content is uneven. The majority of Americans now get their news from Google or Facebook, which control most digital advertising revenue. These companies ultimately decide what their users read—whether the content is clickbait, political commentary or quality news stories. 

This legislation will empower news publishers to compete more fairly by granting them immunity from federal and state antitrust laws for 48 months while they negotiate together with digital platforms.

The bill text is available here.