The South Africa Competition Commission has taken steps to conduct a market inquiry into the dissemination of media content on digital platforms.
This investigation examines the current market characteristics that influence digital platforms that disseminate news media content, which could impede, distort, or limit competition and may hurt South Africa’s media industry.
To carry out these inquiries efficiently, the Commission will focus on specific digital platforms, such as search engines, social media sites, video-sharing platforms, and news aggregation platforms. It will also scrutinize new technologies adopted by digital platforms, such as generative artificial intelligence (AI) search support, including ChatGPT.
South Africa carried out these inquiries to achieve a standard market that will be helpful to all stakeholders, including smaller media businesses and media owned by historically disadvantaged individuals. This inquiry also seeks to ensure that businesses in the South African news media sector, including news publishing and broadcasting, are not negatively affected by the digital platform’s operations.
South Africa has taken an action similar to that of other countries such as Australia and Canada, where regulations have required tech companies like Google and Facebook to compensate financially for news material appearing on their sites. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) mentioned that publishers have had little negotiating power because they were so reliant on tech monopolies like Google and Facebook.
Canada also has a similar reaction from the tech giants. Therefore, the inquiry South Africa put in place will be significant in addressing the issues that are affecting the news media sector and it will also enable the continual development of independent journalism and a properly funded press. Thus improving the news media sector and digital platforms in South Africa.
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