Big tech, publishers need to find common ground: HT Digital CEO

The second virtual round table organised by Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) with speakers from around the world was held on Friday. The speakers at the conference talked about the challenges of establishing an ideal partnership between news publishers and major tech companies in order to rebuild the journalism industry.

Solutions were also a major topic of discussion, ranging from direct communication to agreement on modifying the laws.

The speakers on the panel included Puneet Jain (CEO, HT Digital), Avinash Pandey (CEO, ABP Network), Dr Annurag Batra (Chairman & Editor-in-Chief, Businessworld & exchange4media), Taylor Owen (Beaverbrook Chair of Media, Ethics and Communication, Max Bell School of Public Policy, McGill University) Dr Courtney Radsch (Fellow, UCLA Institute for Technology, Law and Policy) and Paul Deegan (President and Chief Executive Officer, News Media Canada).

They brainstormed ways to build better, fairer, and more fruitful partnerships between tech giants, such as Google and Facebook, and the country’s news publishers.

During the event, the five panelists discussed the challenges facing the news media sector in relation to major tech companies. India, among other nations, has shown interest in the News Media Bargaining Code, which is being developed in Canada. Many see it as an improvement over a comparable code that was implemented in Australia the previous year.

Panellists in second edition of DNPA dialogue

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Panellists in second edition of DNPA dialogue

In his speech, Owen discussed the need for better communication between digital news publishers and major tech companies, as well as how India’s policymakers and other stakeholders can learn from Canada’s upcoming news media bargaining code.

The need for a strong, independent press is more important than ever, according to Deegan, who argued for the need for international legislation: «It keeps us connected to the government, and it’s important that we hold these institutions accountable.»

Deegan added that there is a significant power disparity between the platform and publishers.

Avinash Pandey, CEO of ABP Network, and Puneet Jain, CEO of HT Digital, brought attention to the global discussion on the need to democratise the relationship between international big tech companies like Google and Meta and domestic digital news platforms.

CEO HT Digital Puneet Jain said, “DNPA dialogues aim to foster an open discussion among various stakeholders and news ecosystem in India from publishers to government to regulators, big tech and of course users.»

Answering a question on the way ahead for the relationship between news publishers and big tech, Puneet Jain said, “As we understand from developments around the world, there are economic imbalances that must be addressed.»

He further added that «publishers should continue to engage with big tech and government participants to find a common ground».

The DNPA is a New Delhi-based independent advocacy body representing the digital arms of 17 top news media businesses in India, including Hindustan Times, Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhaskar, Indian Express, Malayala Manorama, ETV, India Today Group, Times Group, Amar Ujala, , Zee Media, ABP Network, Lokmat, NDTV, New Indian Express, Mathrubhumi, Hindu, and Network 18.

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