Chief executive ‘confident UK government will act on big tech this year’

Our chief executive has given his views on the future of the regional press during an interview in his role as head of the leading organisation representing newspapers.

Danny Cammiade is chairman of the News Media Association, the voice of national, regional and local news media organisations in the UK.

In an interview with news industry title Press Gazette Danny was asked about the potential for the UK government to follow other countries in making large tech companies pay the publishers who produce content.

In Australia and Canada the threat of legislation has forced Google and other companies to pay licensing fees worth more than £100m a year to publishers in each country.

Positive outlook

Danny said: “There’s a lot of positives to say about the sector but it would be wrong to say it’s not a challenging sector. Mainly for me that challenge is the level playing field with the tech companies and the BBC.

“The tech giants control both the infrastructure and the retail. The playing field is not level but it’s moving positively so that there will be clear legislation that means that copyright in paying for you the use of other people’s work is clarified.”

Asked whether he thought the Digital Markets , Competition and Consumers Bill would “get over the line” this year and deliver change for the news industry, Danny said: “Yes, and I think you can credit previous chairs for making it a priority, following what’s happening around the world, pushing up the agenda, changing the NMA to be a very strong lobbying group, rather than a members’ group.”

Danny also questioned the move by the BBC to employ more online journalists reporting on local news.

Local approach

He said: “Publishers are having to make a commercial success of it, the BBC are using taxpayers’ money to do it. The NMA needs to keep that as a high priority and make the government aware and BBC executives aware. The only acceptable outcome is for them to withdraw.”

Asked about the progress by Tindle Newspapers, Danny said: “We have been opening High Street offices, putting more journalists on the ground, investing in apprenticeships and quietly reinventing it as a business for people who care about, belong to, participate and support the towns and communities that we serve. That’s where I started.

“We have a rolling plan to do that in every town. We’re putting journalists right back into the heart of what we do.

“The benefit both to us and the community is evident. People write in and say, it’s really great that you’re back in the towns with great we can see the people.”

Read the full interview here.

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