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Farrar: Government is “stupid” to back Labour’s Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill

Summarised by Centrist

The Government’s decision to support the Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill has drawn sharp criticism from political commentator David Farrar. 

This is both an unprincipled and a stupid decision. I can handle principled stupid decisions and even unprincipled smart decisions but this is neither,” he writes. 

The bill purports to support New Zealand’s media by ensuring they earn revenue from news produced, aligning with the Australian digital bargaining code. Given ACT’s opposition, the bill will rely on other parties’ support to pass.

Farrar argues it unfairly forces successful companies like social networks and search engines to fund struggling media companies, simply because they have more money. 

Farrar also contends the decision is politically foolish. Most media already lean left due to journalists’ worldviews. 

By funding these outlets, the government risks strengthening a media landscape that opposes its policies. This action could also incentivise the media to lean further left, especially if future left-leaning governments increase the levy to benefit their preferred media outlets.

There’s a practical concern as well: Farrar suggests that tech giants like Meta might block New Zealand news links rather than comply with the levy, undermining the law’s purpose. 

This potential failure, combined with the political and economic criticisms, paints the bill as a flawed approach to supporting New Zealand’s media sector.

Read more over at Kiwiblog

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