David Cicilline
David Cicilline

Congressman David Cicilline introduced the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act on March 7 to exempt publishers from antitrust laws so they can negotiate collectively with tech platforms (Facebook, Google) over the terms regarding distribution of their content.

The Rhode Island Democrat said his bill would “ensure consumers have access to the best journalism possible.”

He noted that Facebook and Google control about 75 percent of the US digital advertising market.

If passed into law, Cicilline said his bill would “address the imbalance in the marketplace brought on by the platforms’ dominance and help trusted news publishers protect themselves and their readers.”

His bill would provide a 48-month window for newspaper companies to iron out terms for the flow of subscription and ad dollars back to publishers.

The National Newspaper Assn., American Society of News Editors and National Media Alliance are among groups to back Cicilline’s measure.

David Chavern, CEO of the NMA, commended the Congressman for “his commitment to ensure fair competition with the platforms and for his work to preserve quality journalism.”