Malaysian Communications And Multimedia Commission (MCMC) | Suruhanjaya Komunikasi dan Multimedia Malaysia (SKMM)

PETALING JAYA: Following a meeting with Meta and Google on Monday, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) says it is considering adopting regulatory frameworks similar to those implemented in Australia and Canada, requiring online media platforms to compensate news outlets for their content.

The discussion was co-chaired by Communications and Digital Ministry secretary-general Datuk Mohamad Fauzi Md Isa and MCMC chairman Tan Sri Mohamad Salim Fateh Din.

Also in attendance were MCMC commission member Derek Fernandez and the police.

“MCMC is looking into the need to ensure that fair and equitable compensation is paid to content creators where social media or over-the-top media service (OTT) platforms exploit their works or content,” said Fernandez.

“The issue of fair and just compensation for news outlets whose news is commercially exploited by social media outlets is an important matter that is being discussed around the world,” he said.

He added that Canada, Australia and Europe had embarked on such discussions, some of which would result in new laws and regulations.

“It is only fair and just that the profits of digitalisation and the monetisation of data through such platforms address fair monetary compensation for local content creators.

“This may ultimately in the future extend beyond news outlets. Local news outlets carry very heavy cost, give jobs and bear huge overheads to create news content that is monetised by such platforms directly or indirectly.“The push for digitalisation has forced those who embrace it to have to utilise technology owned only by an elite few who, while bringing many benefits, have also enjoyed tremendous profits for decades.

“It perhaps is time to look at the need to protect our citizens and local businesses so as to ensure a fairer sharing of the commercial exploitation and monetisation of data, especially data involving creative content,” said Fernandez.

Universiti Sains Malaysia senior lecturer Dr Ngo Sheau Shi concurred, seeing this compensation as a fair and much needed win-win solution.

“Many media industries in the global south, including Malaysia, face economic challenges and struggle with limited resources.

“Content deals can provide the… financial injections they need to invest in quality journalism and improve their infrastructure.

“A fair and transparent model will allow the local media outlets to grow and then lead to job creation. Journalists, editors, technicians and other media professionals can find more stable employment opportunities, leading to a more robust media industry,” she said.

Ngo said tech giants like Meta and Google need to offer localised content to expand their user base in the region, a crucial role that local media outlets can fill.

“Local media outlets plays a crucial role in highlighting local issues, culture and voices. By compensating local media, tech giants can ensure that these voices are not drowned out by larger international media entities.

“A thriving local media scene can promote trustworthy local sources; tech giants can then build trust with their regional user base,” she said.

According to MCMC, the passing of the Mandatory News Media Bargaining Code in Australia led to both Google and Meta making voluntary compensation agreements with news outlets.

In the case of Canada, its Bill C-11 looked into regulating streaming platforms, requiring that they support locally produced content.

MCMC also said it is moving towards regulating digital platforms to tackle online harm due to evolving online media.

“These challenges include the dissemination of online harm pertinent to child sexual abuse material, online gambling, content inciting race, royalty and religious (3R) discontent, scams and phishing, the sale and promotion of illegal drugs and prohibited substances, impersonation, the spread of disinformation and fake news,” the regulatory body said in a statement.

According to MCMC, a separate meeting on the same issues had been scheduled with TikTok.