Press: Internet

Department for Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered at on 5 February 2024.

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Photo of Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick Non-affiliated

To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of big technology digital companies on the online news media market.

Photo of Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)

As the independent Cairncross Review into the future of journalism identified, more and more aspects of society are played out online, and local news publishers are facing significant challenges in transitioning to sustainable digital business models. The Cairncross Review further concluded that some of the biggest technology companies are able to impose unfair terms on publishers, which limits publishers’ ability to monetise their content and threatens the sustainability of the press. We have introduced legislation to address the far-reaching power of the biggest technology firms. Among many other things, the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill will help to rebalance the relationship between publishers and the online platforms on which they increasingly rely.

We have also supported news publishers through the delivery of a £2 million Future News Fund, the zero-rating of VAT on e-newspapers, and the publication of the Online Media Literacy Strategy. The BBC also continues to support the sector directly, through the £8 million it spends each year on the Local News Partnership, including the Local Democracy Reporting Scheme, which was expanded in 2020 to fund the placement of 165 journalists in newsrooms across the UK.

Separately, Ofcom is exploring the possible impacts of the growth of online news, and the role of online intermediaries in particular, on media plurality, and what, if any, regulatory changes may be necessary to maintain and secure it. We will consider Ofcom’s recommendations when its findings are published.

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