“The free press is a cornerstone of our democracy. Journalists keep the public informed, root corruption, and hold the powerful accountable,” Rhode Island Democratic Representative David Cicilline said. “This bill will provide a much needed lifeline to local publishers who have been crushed by Google and Facebook. It’s about time we take a stand on this issue.”

“Community journalism holds a critical place in our democracy because it helps the American people understand and engage in civil society,” Georgia Republican Representative Doug Collins said. “Through our bipartisan legislation, we are opening the door for community newspapers to more fairly negotiate with large tech platforms that are operating in an increasingly anti-competitive space. This will help protect journalism, promote competition and allow communities to stay informed.”

According to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, more than 63% of Americans cannot tell the difference between good Journalism and online falsehoods. This problem opened the door for Cicilline and Collins to introduce The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act on April 3, 2019, to the House of Representatives.

The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act allows for the following.

1. Limited Safe Harbor. The Act establishes a 48-month safe harbor for the free press to band together to negotiate with dominant online platforms to improve the access to and the quality of news online. Importantly, the safe harbor is narrowly tailored to ensure that coordination by news publishers is only in the interest of promoting trust and quality journalism.

2. Protects the Free and Diverse Press. The free and diverse press—particularly local press— is the backbone of a healthy and vibrant democracy. But the control of access to trustworthy news online has become centralized by just two platforms.

3. Protects the Free Market, Jobs, and the Marketplace of Ideas. Free markets depend on an even playing field. But in the absence of a truly competitive landscape, innovation suffers, businesses fail, workers are laid off or have lower wages, and consumers are harmed through less choice and worse service. Instead of competing on an equal playing field, online platforms are able to dictate the terms of how Americans view news online. And as a result of the diminished revenue, thousands of journalists have been laid off.

In an announcement made by News Media Alliance, strong supporters of local journalism and the Journalism Competition & Preservation Act, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has become the latest co-sponsor of the act.

Below is the announcement which can also be found at newsmediaalliance.org.

“We are very pleased that Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has signed on as the latest co-sponsor and highest ranking official on the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (S. 1700). This bill would provide a limited safe harbor for news publishers to collectively negotiate with Facebook and Google for better business arrangements.

Members of Congress are realizing the urgency and importance of this issue, especially for local news publishers. Communities will go unserved and uncovered if the current trajectory continues. News publishers need greater leverage in negotiations with the dominant intermediary platforms that distribute and monetize quality journalism with little return for those who produce it.

Upon hearing the news of McConnell’s co-sponsorship of the bill, House Antitrust Chairman David Cicilline (D-RI), one of the two original co-sponsors of the House bill (H.R. 2054) introduced in April 2019, stated, “I’m glad to see Senator McConnell’s support for the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act. I look forward to this bill being taken up in both chambers this year and sent to the President’s desk to become law.”

"The Alliance applauds Senator McConnell for his leadership in support of local news publishers across the country and we look forward to news publishers having the collective ability to ask the platforms for fair compensation for use of their content in the near future.”

The last 10 plus years have been difficult for the news industry that was founded upon truth and fairness. Long has been our focus to be the true media leaders in accurate news, sharing complete stories and differences of opinions since the first amendment granted us this freedom. Yet, the ease and limited cost to readers looking for and finding quick, easy, and many times inaccurate, news online has forced us into a time where we now must question what we read. Is it factual or not?

It is to this, why 48 state press associations across the nation support the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act. And work tirelessly to change that which has become the new norm and bring back trustworthy journalism.

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