Centre working on law to protect Indian media from Big Tech: Rajeev Chandrasekhar

Profiting on the back of the Indian news industry? This practice of big technology giants won’t last long with the government now jumping in to protect the Indian media houses.

“The government is working on the IT Law to protect Indian media from big tech companies. The law will make sure that the Indian media is not at a disadvantage when dealing with the likes of Google and Facebook,” Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the Minister of State of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), told India Today TV in an exclusive interview.

“The ministry of technology will protect the Indian media. Laws are needed to protect the Indian media. Many countries have already done it,” he said.

The Centre isn’t the first to look at these laws. Across the globe, governments are waking up to the business model of the Big Tech companies.

The model adopted by these companies has been detrimental to the media houses and publishers.


For media houses across the globe, this hasn’t been an easy task. From Australia to France to India, bringing Facebook and Google to the table has been an uphill task, given their sheer might.

Also Read: | India plans to make Google, Facebook pay news publishers for using their content: All you need to know

“Technology companies need to know that there are no free lunches,” Supreme Court lawyer Pawan Duggal told India Today TV.

“Finally, the Indian government has woken up to the power of Indian data. Monetisation of Indian data has to be done to benefit Indians and not foreigners,” he opined.

“Indian data and Indian firms have been at the mercy of social media and tech companies for decades. It is time now to formulate laws that not only safeguard but also open doors for remuneration,” he added.

The bone of contention between media houses and Big Tech majors like Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp is revenue sharing.

Indian newspapers and digital news publishers want a share of revenue for their original content.

Also Read: | Centre plans law to make Google, Facebook pay for news | What this means

Once a user hops on to Google, his search directs him to an article on a certain publisher’s website. Google earns from the search, but publishers don’t, and they feel this is unfair.

The global digital and social media platforms have gained from the internet boom and are currently raking in the moolah as advertising revenues have skyrocketed.

While platforms are minting money, newspapers and digital news publishers believe that this mammoth growth is fuelled by the content they produce.


Once media houses realised that they were at the receiving end, they banded together and began a march for their rights.

The laws in Australia and Germany are a result of media houses putting up a fight.


Australia has passed a new law that will require digital platforms like Facebook and Google to pay local media outlets and publishers to link their content to news feeds or search results.

It has become the first country in the world where a government-appointed arbitrator will intervene if a commercial deal cannot be reached independently between platforms and publishers.

The arbitrator will decide the final price that platforms will be bound to pay publishers in the country.


Last year, Google announced copyright deals with several large German and French publications.

Google said it’s rolling out a new tool to offer licensing agreements to thousands of other European publishers.


Spain adopted the revamped European Union’s copyright rules into legislation last year. Now, media outlets in the country negotiate directly with Google.

Also Read: | Govt mulls IT law revision to make Google, Facebook share revenue with news outlets

Spanish media outlets – big and small – make their own decisions about how their content can be discovered and how they want to monetise that content.


European Union countries have adopted a 2019 EU directive granting publishers additional rights over their content.

The new law allows search engines like Google to link to and use snippets of news content, while giving publishers new rights when extended previews are used online.


India’s anti-trust agency, the Competition Commission of India (CCI), has ordered an inquiry against Google over allegations from news publishers that the tech giant had broken some antitrust laws.

The Indian Newspapers Society (INS) in its complaint to the CCI have said that Alphabet Inc., Google LLC, Google India Private Limited, Google Ireland Limited, and Google Asia Pacific Pte Ltd are allegedly abusing their dominant position related to news referral services and Google Ad Tech services in the Indian online news media market, in violation of Section 4 of the Competition Act, 2002.

The complaint also stated that search engines like Google end up leveraging the revenue and get much more returns than the publishers on the content that is being provided by the publishers.

An investigation is underway against Google for its alleged abuse of dominance in news aggregation.

Also Read: | India antitrust probe finds Google abused Android dominance, report shows

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