The move, undertaken through the Malaysian Newspaper Publishers Association (MNPA), follows a recent landmark decision by the Australian government to force Google and Facebook to share their advertising revenue with local media firms, MNPA chairman Mustapha Kamil Mohd Janor said here today.
In a Reuters report last week, Australia’s Treasurer Josh Frydenberg was quoted as saying the move came after talks with Facebook and Google failed to yield results acceptable to both parties.
Established in 1971, MNPA represents most of the mainstream newspaper publishers in Malaysia, including publishers of the New Straits Times, The Star, The Sun, Borneo Post, The Edge, Berita Harian, Sinar Harian, Sin Chew Daily, China Press, Nanyang Siang Pau, Oriental Daily News, See Hua Daily News and Makkal Osai.
Mustapha Kamil, who is also Media Prima Bhd’s news and editorial operations executive director, said like others around the world, Malaysian newspaper publishers had been experiencing sharp declines in revenue in recent years, primarily due to the migration of readers to digital online news.
“Although traditional newspaper companies have likewise ventured into the digital world, revenue generation from online news continues to rest largely in the hands of Google and Facebook,” he said.
However, both Google and Facebook are mere aggregators of news mostly from traditional news publishers which are the ones having to incur manpower and other costs in producing such news, he added.
Mustapha Kamil said that for more than 15 years, both Facebook and Google had been reusing content created by traditional media companies for financial gains.
“These are contents that we have invested a lot of our resources to produce. We are only asking for a fair share of the advertising revenue which they generate through our content,” he said.
He said that traditional media companies in Malaysia had seen a prolonged period of sharp declines in revenue and most have had to resort to downsizing and retrenchments to stay afloat.
“We hope the government will consider looking into this issue and come to the publishers’ aid,” he said.