This month the ACCC released a long-overdue report into the way Facebook and Google have changed the media in Australia and the world.
Here are a few quotes:
...the impact of digital platforms (ie Facebook and Google) on the supply of news and journalism is particularly significant. News and journalism generate broad benefits for society through the production and dissemination of knowledge, the exposure of corruption, and holding governments and other decision makers to account.
...the ACCC is concerned with the reduction in the number of professional journalists. In particular, the ACCC is concerned that this has led and will lead to a reduction in certain forms of journalism which are beneficial to society including, for example, public interest investigative journalism.
Even those members of the public that do not read, watch or listen to the news benefit from the role journalism performs in exposing corruption, the creation of public debate and holding governments, corporations and individuals to account through their questioning and investigation.
The ACCC is considering a number of measures aimed at increasing the production and/or consumption of certain types of journalism, including public investigative journalism and also other forms of journalism that provide benefits to society.
The ACCC's report is an interim one, with a final due mid next year.
They're seeking public comment and early next year I'll be making what I'd expect to be a substantial contribution. You might recall our notorious run in with Google effectively shutting our site down for the week surrounding GILLARD's appointment to the Clinton-associated Global Partnership for Education!!!!! Rest assured I'll make sure the ACCC is aware of those details.
I agree with the thrust of the ACCC's report - but I'd add what I think is a critical point.
The people behind Facebook and Google are avowed Leftists. Zuckerberg and Obama were and are close and we've reported extensively on the work Google's executives have done to help the Clinton cause.
That fact limits the exposure and effect of investigative journalism targeting The Left. It also directly affects the income of conservative journalistic figures.
We suffered a precipitous fall in support when Google shut us down in early 2014 - from which we've never recovered.
I will never be beholden to a company like Google or Facebook - nor to a government or other advertisers for the support that keeps this website running. I do it for you, because of you and with help from you.
In his last months at the helm Turnbull established a $48M "Innovation Fund" for small publishers (like me).
I would never take money from any government because of the strings that are attached. It's an anathema to what we do here. One of the selection criteria with the Turnbull $48M was "a value-for-money outcome for the Commonwealth". How could you trust a publisher that was driven to achieve that?
I regularly bring FOI applications, I report matters to authorities - and as in the case of the reluctance by authorities to act against corruption, I sometimes move to bring private prosecutions.
I have two such matters in the works. The GILLARD prosecution, about which I expect to receive a decision by the CDPP early next year - and a private prosecution of a second person who was involved in the use of fabricated evidence.
But I can only do that for you and with you while I have your support.
Next year the signs are good for law enforcement action on the Clinton Foundation as well. I have tried to under promise of late about progress in the US - there's been so much noise and static and I've tried to hold back until we have absolute certainty. Rest assured I have been maintaining the resolve to progress that investigation and we'll continue doing that with your support next year.
As we move towards the end of 2018 - the 7th year I've been at this - I need your help to keep going more than ever.
I wouldn't do it if I didn't think is was worthwhile.
I wouldn't do it if I thought someone else would.
And I can't do it without you!
Acct No: 537650476